Runners with Knee Pain

Are you a runner or other athlete with knee pain?

The most com­mon overuse injury of the knee is ili­otib­ial band fric­tion syn­drome (known affec­tion­ate­ly as ITBFS).  The ili­otib­ial band extends down your out­er thigh, cross­es the out­side of the knee, and attach­es onto the out­side of your low­er leg.  If it’s inflamed or irri­tat­ed you’ll have pain in the out­er knee.

  • Are there ili­otib­ial band stretch­es you should be doing?
  • What about strength­en­ing?
  • Are you wear­ing the wrong run­ning shoes?

I recent­ly pub­lished an arti­cle in Cur­rent Reviews of Mus­cu­loskele­tal Med­i­cine titled Ili­otib­ial Band Fric­tion Syn­drome.  It cov­ers these ques­tions and much more.

Ili­otib­ial band fric­tion syn­drome (ITBFS) is a painful con­di­tion of the out­er knee that affects run­ners, cyclists, row­ers, and oth­er ath­letes who per­form repet­i­tive cycles of bend­ing and straight­en­ing the knees.

ITBFS isn’t con­fined to ath­letes, either.  If the bal­ance of your mus­cles and joints in the low­er body is thrown off, you too could be at risk.

There are oth­er painful con­di­tions of the knee that I fre­quent­ly see in active peo­ple.  For exam­ple, Patellofemoral Syn­drome (PFS) is anoth­er com­mon prob­lem caus­ing pain in the front of the knee.

And then there are injuries to the knee’s sup­port­ing lig­a­ments, includ­ing the ante­ri­or cru­ci­ate lig­a­ment (the ACL), wear and tear of the car­ti­lage inside the knee (the menis­cus), and oth­er prob­lems too.

Some­times you need an X-ray or MRI to diag­nose these prob­lems, but just as often you don’t.  In Ili­otib­ial Band Fric­tion Syn­drome, for instance, there are no rel­e­vant X-ray find­ings.

In addi­tion to con­nec­tive tis­sue treat­ment, learn­ing prop­er mechan­ics of the feet, knees and pelvis is cru­cial to long-term recov­ery.

If you have knee prob­lems, the diag­nos­tic process isn’t com­plete until you’ve found out all you can about opti­miz­ing knee func­tion.

Deepen Your Body of Knowledge

Stretch­es for Run­ners

More Info on ITB Prob­lems

Rec­om­mend­ed:  Paul Ingraham’s e-book on self-care for IT Band syn­drome — only $19.95.  Plus — receive a bonus — a sec­ond book on self-care for mus­cle pain.


About Ronald Lavine, D.C.

Dr. Lavine has more than thirty five years' experience helping patients alleviate pain and restore health using diverse, scientifically-based manual therapy and therapeutic exercise and alignment methods. His website,, provides more information about his approach. Please contact him at or at 212-400-9663.
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