Outside Knee Pain


Pain on the outside of the knee is known as lateral knee pain. A common cause of lateral knee pain is a condition termed iliotibial band syndrome, also known as iliotibial band friction syndrome.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS)

  • The iliotibial band is a thick fibrous band that runs from the outside of the hip along the leg down to the knee. The function of the band is to stabilize the knee; especially during activities which involve running. Iliotibial band syndrome is the irritation and inflammation that is caused by a tight or shortened iliotibial band rubbing against the outside of the knee joint through repeated knee flexion and extension


  • Symptoms of the condition include pain, tenderness, aching, sharp, stinging or burning on the outside of the knee joint. Sometimes the pain radiates up the thigh.

Risk Factors

  • Potential risk factors for ITBS include a preexisting tight iliotibial band, a leg length discrepancy, running high weekly mileage, interval training or weak hip abductor muscles.


  • Treatment for ITBS involves rest, ice, strengthening the muscles on the outside of the hip (abductors) and stretching the IT band.


  • To help prevent ITBS, correct any faulty biomechanics, wear proper footwear and stretch and strengthen the muscles around the hips and knees.

Other Causes of Lateral Knee Pain

  • Meniscus injuries and osteoarthritis can also cause lateral knee pain.

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  • Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Evonne
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