Conservative treatment for iliotibial band syndrome: Are we facing a research gap? A scoping review of 98 studies with clinical perspectives

Phys Ther Sport. 2023 Jul:62:25-31. doi: 10.1016/j.ptsp.2023.05.002. Epub 2023 May 30.


Objectives: To identify which treatment modalities are described in the literature for the conservative management of ITBS (1) and to identify research gap (2).

Databases: The following electronic databases were searched: MEDLINE/Pubmed, Embase, Scopus and Cochrane Library.

Eligibility criteria: The included studies had to report at least one conservative treatment on a human population suffering from ITBS.

Results: 98 studies reached the included criteria and seven categories of treatment were identified, i.e., stretching, adjuvants, physical modalities, injections, strengthening, manual techniques and education. Only 32 studies were designed as original clinical studies within which only 7 were randomized controlled trials, while 66 were review studies. Education, injections and medications as well as stretching were the most cited therapies. However, there was a clear discrepancy design. For example, stretching modalities were reported in 31% and 78% for clinical and review studies, respectively.

Conclusions: There is an objective research gap in the literature concerning conservative ITBS management. The recommendations are mostly based on expert opinions and review article. More high-quality research studies should be performed for enhancing the ITBS conservative management understanding.

Keywords: Evidence gaps; Knee; Lower extremity; Sports; Therapeutics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Conservative Treatment
  • Evidence Gaps
  • Humans
  • Iliotibial Band Syndrome*
  • Physical Therapy Modalities