Iliotibial band syndrome: soft tissue and biomechanical factors in evaluation and treatment

PM R. 2011 Jun;3(6):550-61. doi: 10.1016/j.pmrj.2011.01.002.


Muscle performance factors and altered loading mechanics have been linked to a variety of lower extremity musculoskeletal disorders. In this article, biomechanical risk factors associated with iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) are described, and a strategy for incorporating these factors into the clinical evaluation of and treatment for that disorder is presented. Abnormal movement patterns in runners and cyclists with ITBS are discussed, and the pathophysiological characteristics of this syndrome are considered in light of prior and current studies in anatomy. Differential diagnoses and the use of imaging, medications, and injections in the treatment of ITBS are reviewed. The roles of hip muscle strength, kinematics, and kinetics are detailed, and the assessment and treatment of muscle performance factors are discussed, with emphasis on identifying and treating movement dysfunction. Various stages of rehabilitation, including strengthening progressions to reduce soft-tissue injury, are described in detail. ITBS is an extremely common orthopedic condition that presents with consistent dysfunctional patterns in muscle performance and movement deviation. Through careful assessment of lower quarter function, the clinician can properly identify individuals and initiate treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries / diagnosis
  • Athletic Injuries / physiopathology
  • Athletic Injuries / rehabilitation
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Humans
  • Iliotibial Band Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Iliotibial Band Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Iliotibial Band Syndrome / rehabilitation*
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*