Knee pain – Cyclists and runners

A common problem for cyclists, mountain bikers and runners is Iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome. Symptoms of ITB syndrome can include;

  • Pain at or around the lateral epicondyle of the femur (on the outside of the knee)
  • Pain at or around the lateral (side) of the hip/upper leg
  • Tightness in the iliotibial band (the outside of the leg).
  • Pain is normally aggravated by running, particularly downhill and cycling
  • Pain during flexion or extension of the knee, made worse by pressing in at the side of the knee over the sore part
  • Weakness in hip abduction (lifting leg out to the side)
  • Tender trigger points in the gluteal (buttock) area may also be present.

 What causes ITB syndrome?

Certain factors may make you more susceptible to developing ITB syndrome;

  • A naturally tight or wide ITB
  • Weak hip muscles such as gluteus medius
  • Trigger points within the ITB and gluteal muscles
  • Overpronation
  • Overuse
  • Excessive hill running or cycling
  • Running on a cambered surface
  • Leg length difference.

Most of these factors can be addressed through changes to your training programme, the use of insoles or heel pads and a thorough rehabilitation programme.

Iliotibial band friction syndrome may require long-term Iliotibial band stretches and gluteal training to prevent issues reoccurring.

If you think you have a tight ITB try this basic stretch;





Disclaimer – this is a general exercise only. If you have pain that is made worse with this exercise then you should cease and should seek advice from a medical professional.


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2 Responses to Knee pain – Cyclists and runners

  1. I do not feel pain whilst running but I’ve been looking for ways to relieve the pain for the pain in my knees after running. I feel working at a desk and limiting my mobility for so long cannot help, so my physio has advised I take regular walks, take the stairs not the lift. Every little helps as they say. Do you have any suggestions for desk based workers like me? Thanks!

    • says:

      Hi Tommy

      If you provide your email I can send you through a basic document for DSE set up. Do keep active through the day where possible and also ensure you have a good warm and up and cool down. Warm up for running is a light jog and dynamic stretches and then the cool down is where you introduce your static stretches i.e. holding the stretch. Really focus on the quads, hamstrings, calf muscles (deep and superficial) – look up Gastroc and soleus stretch, don’t forget hip flexors, adductors and ITB.

      Hope this help.

      Kind Regards
      Lead Physiotherapist

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