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Preventing Iliotibial Band Syndrome In Your Workers

August 2, 2021
June 21, 2023
Young adult male with muscle pain during running

Almost anybody who has spent a fair amount of time on their feet, or doing some sort of exercise that requires continuously bending your knees, knows the pain that can quickly set in at the end of the day. Muscle soreness is one symptom that will often quickly clear up on its own.

When experiencing prolonged pain on the outer side of the joint of your knee, it is likely that you might be suffering from Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS).

This common musculoskeletal disorder affects people of all different ages, backgrounds and activity levels.  It is most present when consistent and repetitive bending of the knees occurs on a daily basis. Though ITBS is most often associated with runners and other athletes, it can also be prevalent in workplace injuries.  Workers whose  occupations require them to engage in repetitive bending motions at the knee, like squatting, and spend long hours on their feet are at highest risk. ITBS is one of the most common overuse injuries of the leg, and it accounts for 22 percent of all overuse injuries in the knee region.

In this short article, we explain what iliotibial band syndrome is and the best iliotibial band syndrome treatment options for your employees who are suffering from this syndrome. We then offer a few tips for IT band syndrome prevention. 

What is Iliotibial Band Syndrome?

The Iliotibial (IT) band is a long, thick fibrous band of connective tissue, known as fascia, which is located on the lateral (outside) part of your thigh. It runs from the hip, crosses the knee joint line and inserts in the tibia of the lower leg. The iliotibial band is extremely important for movement, as it supports the hip motions of  extension, abduction, and rotation.

The IT band also plays an important part in stabilizing your knees. Iliotibial Band Syndrome is a painful inflammation of the IT band and the surrounding tissues.

ITBS Treatment and Prevention Options for Employers

If you have workers who complain about knee pain and have been diagnosed with iliotibial band syndrome, there are fortunately effective treatment options, which include: 

  • RICE, or Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation, can help reduce the immediate pain; 
  • Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve), as prescribed/recommended by a physician, may also be helpful for moderate cases; 
  • For workers with long-term pain from ITBS, musculoskeletal rehabilitation  may be necessary. A licensed and certified specialist, can also recommend helpful home treatments such as targeted stretching, massage techniques, and other home exercises to reduce symptoms.
    Though ITBS can be controlled and cured, prevention is always the best option. No matter what type of workplace environment, ITBS prevention should be focused on: 
  • Proper stretching and warming up before beginning physical work tasks; 
  • Encouraging workers to take work breaks to allow their bodies to recover during long hours of physical labor; 
  • Providing standing workers with anti-fatigue mats; 
  • Providing or requiring proper footwear for all workers. 

Here is one favorite stretchs to help prevent iliotibial band syndrome. Give it a try today! 

iliotibial band syndrome stretch

Cross one leg in front of the other.  Keeping your weight on the back foot, shift hip away as shown in picture.  You should feel this stretch in the outside of your hip. You may also feel a stretch in the outside of your thigh or at your knee. If you don’t, it is still being effective!  Hold for 15-20 seconds. Reverse your feet and shift your weight the opposite way to perform on the other side. 

Fortunately, most business owners can design prevention strategies to protect their workers from the pain caused by ITBS. Even when symptoms do begin to appear, timely treatment can help to stop ITBS from developing into a chronic form of pain.

If you have several employees who work in situations that might put them at risk for developing iliotibial band syndrome, you might also consider hiring a third-party, independent contractor to help implement the best practices for ITBS treatment and prevention.

Prevent IT Band Syndrome With Work-Fit

Work-Fit  is one leading company that offers onsite and telehealth injury prevention, management, and employee wellness programs for your workforce. We are the nationwide leader in applying sports medicine techniques in the workplace to prevent injuries and increase your company's bottom line.

Our team of professionals can help your company design and implement effective strategies to protect your workers from developing ITBS. We can also offer advice on the best treatment options for workers who already suffer from this common musculoskeletal disorder.

Our injury prevention program is a great resource to help your business generate savings on workers’ compensation by finding the best strategies to prevent ITBS in your workforce. If you are interested in finding the best ways to protect your workers from ITBS, contact us today to learn about how we can help your team! 


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