Symptoms

The most common symptoms of IT band syndrome is pain in the outer hip, thigh, or knee. The pain may be mild and go away after a warm-up. Or, the pain can be quite intense and persistent during exercise. 

Other symptoms of IT band syndrome include: 

  • A snapping or popping sound in the knee 
  • Swelling 
  • Needle-like prickling feeling 

When to See a Doctor

See your doctor if you have pain that doesn’t get better after a few weeks or gets worse. If left untreated, IT band syndrome can cause scarring in the bursa, a fluid-filled sac that is a sort of cushion between the IT band and the bone. Scaring can limit the range of motion in the knee or hip and create more pain.

Causes

Although IT band syndrome is usually caused by overuse, it can also be caused by: 

  • A tight IT band 
  • Bad form (alignment) during exercise 
  • Being in poor condition 
  • Bowed legs 
  • Exercising without warming up 
  • Doing more than your body is used to 

Diagnosis & Tests, Treatments, Prevention

Diagnosis & Tests

Your doctor will ask you about medical history, your symptoms, and your recent activities. During the exam, your doctor will likely feel your leg and ask you to move it in a certain way so they can check your range of motion. Most of the time, this is enough to diagnose IT band syndrome. 

In some cases, your doctor may need imaging tests to help with the diagnosis, including: 

  • Ultrasound. This test uses sound waves to create an image of the structures in your leg and joints. 
  • MRI. This test uses radio waves and magnets to create an image of the soft tissues and any damage that may be present.