ITBS or Iliotibial Band Syndrome

by (Physiotherapist)

Do you experience pain on the outer part of your leg? Is it possible that you may have a problem with your ITB?

ITB stands for the iliotibial band. The iliotibial band is not a muscle, it is fascia that runs down the side of your leg. Since it is not a muscle, stretches for it are ineffective. Many people roll their ITB along a foam roller to loosen it, but often that does not resolve their pain.

The ITB is attached to several muscles in the hip. The tensor fascia latae (TFL) and the gluteus maximus (your buttocks) are the two major ones. Dysfunction of these muscles can cause the ITB to “tighten” and cause pain. This condition is called ITBS (iliotibial band syndrome).

Here are examples of some exercises that may be prescribed to you by your practitioner:

Sidelying plank with hip abduction:

Lying on your side, lift your body up over your forearm.

Move your top leg up, then down.





Isometric external rotation:

Lying on your stomach, touch both heels together

Push the heels together and hold for 5 seconds.

You can palpate your glutes to ensure that they are activating

Relax. Then repeat.





Lie on your side with legs bent to 45 degrees

Keeping your feet together, lift your top knee up without letting your pelvis sway

Hold at the top for 3 seconds.

Slowly lower. Then repeat.


The tricky about ITBS is that there can be multiple causes and thus, not just one quick recipe to fix it. There are other causes too. It can involve having poor spinal mobility, abnormal ankle and knee biomechanics and/or tightness of other surrounding muscles like the hip flexors.

So if you are having outer leg pain, it will be best to see your physio to get all this assessed – it is much better than wasting valuable minutes lying on that foam roller.

Back to top