Shockwave for Iliotibial band (ITB) knee pain

May 18, 2022

What is Iliotibial Band (ITB)?

The Iliotibial band (ITB) is an important thick strap of connective tissue which runs down the lateral (outside) thigh connecting the hip muscles to the lower knee and shin bone, helping to stabilise the knee joint. The ITB can become inflamed and irritated causing compression, presenting as pain on the outside of the knee joint, lower thigh and outer hip.

Common signs and symptoms include:

  • Pain on the lateral/outside of the knee
  • Clicking/popping sounds with knee movement
  • Swelling and/or tenderness to touch
  • Pain or tension along the length of the ITB
  • Pain on heel strikes when walking, running, or using stairs

Risk factors:

Through objective and subjective assessment your therapist will be able to identify the cause of your symptoms and tailor the treatment to your specific needs, activity demands and goals.

  • Biomechanical issue – excessive pelvic tilt/flat feet
  • Excessive training – lack of rest days or failing to warm-up/cool down
  • Increasing training too quickly
  • Repetitive movements – Running/cycling
  • Poor footwear and training on hard surfaces
  • Leg length discrepancy or bowed legs
  • Muscle weakness in the glutes and core
  • Arthritis in the knee
  • Lack of flexibility
  • Excessive uphill walks, climbs, or runs.
  • Prolonged sitting for long periods of time without breaks causing excessive mechanical stress

Depending on the cause of the injury there are different routes that your therapist will take to protect, restore and optimise recovery. Initial recovery goal is to reduce the stress on the irritated structure.

Long term, a tailored mixed modality approach including manual, active progressive rehabilitation and shockwave therapy is most effective. Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive therapy which stimulates the soft tissue healing response.


How does Shockwave treat Iliotibial band (ITB)?

Shockwave will help treat the pain and muscle tone, however it is very important to simultaneously treat the root cause of your symptoms, we unfortunately cannot rely on the shockwave alone. The use of the shockwave therapy for treating ITB optimises the treatment effect and results of the conservative therapy strategies such as massage and stretching. A key part of treatment is to treat globally to help correct mechanical imbalances, reduce the influence of predisposing factors to prevent reoccurring injury/irritation. This will include some home exercises.


If you are suffering from a reoccurring injury or feel that a long term injury is taking longer to heal than anticipated, then we would be happy to help and discuss treatment options with our Stansted Park Therapists. Book your appointment easily via phone, email or through our secure online booking.

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