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Runner’s Knee

Runner’s Knee: What is it? Why might I get it and How can I get rid of it?

The term “runner’s knee” is commonly used for Ilio Tibial Band Syndrome (ITBS). It is a painful over use injury that affects the outer part of the knee. It is fairly common in both runners and cyclists in fact about a quarter of all knee injuries in cyclists are diagnosed with runners knee!

To understand ITBS it is helpful to familiarise yourself with the relevant anatomy. The Ilio Tibial Band (ITB) is a tough length of fascia that attaches from the outer part of the pelvis and goes all the way down the outside of your thigh to your tibia (shin). On its way down it passes what is called the lateral epicondyle which is a bony prominence on the thigh bone, at the knee. When the knee is bent the ITB moves over the lateral epicondyle.

During activities such as running and cycling where the knee is repeatedly bending and straightening the ITB can become impinged upon the lateral epicondyle which can result in inflammation. If the ITB is tight, the likelihood of friction is increased which can lead to runner’s knee.


  • Pain on the outside of the knee (laterally)

  • Pain radiating up the thigh or down the outside of the shin

  • Pain exacerbated whilst running or cycling

  • Usually only present during activity

  • Can be painful on stairs

  • Pain on palpation over the lateral epicondyle


  • Reduce local inflammation

  • Address underlying postural abnormalities

  • Rest

  • Ice

  • ITB stretches

  • Foam roller

  • If all else fails a steroid injection can be given

  • Increase Gluteas medius strength

Seeking advice and an appropriate treatment programme from a physiotherapist will get you on the right road to recovery


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