Medscape is available in 5 Language Editions – Choose your Edition here.


Iliotibial Band Syndrome Medication

  • Author: Jerold M Stirling, MD; Chief Editor: Craig C Young, MD  more...
Updated: Oct 21, 2015

Medication Summary

NSAIDs are often incorporated into the medical management of overuse injuries such as ITBS because of these agents' analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. All NSAIDs share a common mechanism of action, inhibition of prostaglandins. Many types of NSAIDs are available for treatment of overuse injuries, but these drugs vary primarily in their onset of effectiveness and duration of action.

To some degree, all NSAIDs share a common side effect of irritation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Patients who take NSAIDs may experience symptoms of flatulence, abdominal cramping, and diarrhea. The more serious GI side effects include esophageal reflux, gastritis, acid reflux, peptic disease, and ulcer formation. NSAIDs as a group may also produce renal side effects (interstitial nephritis, vasomotor nephropathy), dermatologic reactions (rashes), and central nervous system (CNS) symptoms (eg, headache, dizziness, mood change, confusion), but these are much less common than GI side effects.

The ideal NSAID for treatment of an overuse injury is one that combines several properties. The drug should act quickly, have good penetration into synovial tissues, and produce few or no side effects. Unfortunately, no NSAID exists that fulfills all these criteria. The following list indicates only a few of the NSAIDs that are commonly prescribed for overuse injuries.

See also Medscape Drugs & Diseases topics Overuse Injury and Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Agent Toxicity.


Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Class Summary

NSAIDs have analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antipyretic activities. The mechanism of action of these agents is not known, but NSAIDs may inhibit cyclooxygenase activity and prostaglandin synthesis. Other mechanisms may exist as well, such as inhibition of leukotriene synthesis, lysosomal enzyme release, lipoxygenase activity, neutrophil aggregation, and various cell-membrane functions.

Naproxen (Naprelan, Naprosyn, Anaprox)


For relief of mild to moderate pain; inhibits inflammatory reactions and pain by decreasing activity of cyclooxygenase, which results in a decrease of prostaglandin synthesis.

Ibuprofen (Motrin, Ibuprin)


DOC for patients with mild to moderate pain. Inhibits inflammatory reactions and pain by decreasing prostaglandin synthesis.

Diclofenac (Cataflam, Voltaren)


Designated chemically as 2-[(2,6-dichlorophenyl) amino] benzeneacetic acid, monosodium salt, with an empirical formula of C14 H10 Cl2 NO2 NA.

One of a series of phenylacetic acids that has demonstrated anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties in pharmacologic studies. Believed to inhibit the enzyme cyclooxygenase, which is essential in the biosynthesis of prostaglandins. Can cause hepatotoxicity; hence, liver enzymes should be monitored in the first 8 weeks of treatment.

Rapidly absorbed; metabolism occurs in the liver by demethylation, deacetylation, and glucuronide conjugation.

The delayed-release, enteric-coated form is diclofenac sodium, and the immediate-release form is diclofenac potassium. Has relatively low risk for bleeding GI ulcers. Available in extended-relief dosage of 75 mg or 100 mg (Voltaren SR) am or hs.

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Jerold M Stirling, MD Interim Chairman of Pediatrics, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Orthopedics, Departments of Pediatrics and Orthopedic Surgery, Loyola University Medical Center

Jerold M Stirling, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Pediatrics

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.


Pietro Tonino, MD Director of Sports Medicine, Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Orthopaedic Surgery, Loyola University Medical Center

Pietro Tonino, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, American College of Sports Medicine, American Medical Association, American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, Chicago Medical Society, Illinois State Medical Society, Mid-America Orthopaedic Association, American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Timothy D Marsho, DO Pediatrician

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Specialty Editor Board

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Received salary from Medscape for employment. for: Medscape.

Chief Editor

Craig C Young, MD Professor, Departments of Orthopedic Surgery and Community and Family Medicine, Medical Director of Sports Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin

Craig C Young, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American Academy of Family Physicians, American College of Sports Medicine, American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, Phi Beta Kappa

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Additional Contributors

Leslie Milne, MD Assistant Clinical Instructor, Department of Emergency Medicine, Harvard University School of Medicine

Leslie Milne, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Sports Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

  1. Ellis R, Hing W, Reid D. Iliotibial band friction syndrome--a systematic review. Man Ther. 2007 Aug. 12(3):200-8. [Medline].

  2. Fairclough J, Hayashi K, Toumi H, et al. The functional anatomy of the iliotibial band during flexion and extension of the knee: implications for understanding iliotibial band syndrome. J Anat. 2006 Mar. 208(3):309-16. [Medline].

  3. Fredericson M, Wolf C. Iliotibial band syndrome in runners: innovations in treatment. Sports Med. 2005. 35(5):451-9. [Medline].

  4. Beynnon BD Johnson RJ, Coughlin KM. Knee. DeLee JC, Drez D Jr, Miller MD, eds. DeLee and Drez's Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders; 2003. 1871-2.

  5. Akuthota V, Stilp SK, Lento P. Iliotibial band syndrome. Frontera WR, Silver JK, eds. Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Philadelphia, Pa: Hanley & Belfus; 2002. 328-33.

  6. Harris M, Williams CW, Stanish W, Micheli LJ, eds. Oxford Textbook of Sports Medicine. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press; 1994.

  7. Orchard JW, Fricker PA, Abud AT, Mason BR. Biomechanics of iliotibial band friction syndrome in runners. Am J Sports Med. 1996 May-Jun. 24(3):375-9. [Medline].

  8. Messier SP, Edwards DG, Martin DF, et al. Etiology of iliotibial band friction syndrome in distance runners. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1995 Jul. 27(7):951-60. [Medline].

  9. Holmes JC, Pruitt AL, Whalen NJ. Iliotibial band syndrome in cyclists. Am J Sports Med. 1993 May-Jun. 21(3):419-24. [Medline].

  10. Lindenberg G, Pinshaw R, Noakes TD. Iliotibial band friction syndrome in runners. Phys Sports Med. 1984. 12(5):118-130.

  11. van der Worp MP, van der Horst N, de Wijer A, Backx FJ, Nijhuis-van der Sanden MW. Iliotibial band syndrome in runners: a systematic review. Sports Med. 2012 Nov 1. 42(11):969-92. [Medline].

  12. Richards DP, Alan Barber F, Troop RL. Iliotibial band Z-lengthening. Arthroscopy. 2003 Mar. 19(3):326-9. [Medline].

  13. Foch E, Milner CE. Frontal Plane Running Biomechanics in Female Runners with Previous Iliotibial Band Syndrome. J Appl Biomech. 2013 May 13. [Medline].

  14. Meardon SA, Campbell S, Derrick TR. Step width alters iliotibial band strain during running. Sports Biomech. 2012 Nov. 11(4):464-72. [Medline].

  15. Noehren B, Schmitz A, Hempel R, Westlake C, Black W. Assessment of strength, flexibility, and running mechanics in men with iliotibial band syndrome. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2014 Mar. 44 (3):217-22. [Medline]. [Full Text].

  16. Shamus J, Shamus E. THE MANAGEMENT OF ILIOTIBIAL BAND SYNDROME WITH A MULTIFACETED APPROACH: A DOUBLE CASE REPORT. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2015 Jun. 10 (3):378-90. [Medline]. [Full Text].

  17. Martens M, Libbrecht P, Burssens A. Surgical treatment of the iliotibial band friction syndrome. Am J Sports Med. 1989 Sep-Oct. 17(5):651-4. [Medline].

  18. Gunter P, Schwellnus MP. Local corticosteroid injection in iliotibial band friction syndrome in runners: a randomised controlled trial. Br J Sports Med. 2004 Jun. 38(3):269-72; discussion 272. [Medline].

  19. Cardone DA, Tallia AF. Diagnostic and therapeutic injection of the hip and knee. Am Fam Physician. 2003 May 15. 67(10):2147-52. [Medline]. [Full Text].

  20. Allen DJ. Treatment of distal iliotibial band syndrome in a long distance runner with gait re-training emphasizing step rate manipulation. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2014 Apr. 9 (2):222-31. [Medline]. [Full Text].

  21. Henderson JM. Therapeutic drugs. What to avoid with athletes. Clin Sports Med. 1998 Apr. 17(2):229-43. [Medline].

The Ober test.
This illustration demonstrates active stretching of the iliotibial band (ITB). The athlete stands a comfortable distance from a wall and, with the contralateral knee extended, leans the proximal shoulder against the wall to stretch the ipsilateral ITB.
This illustration demonstrates iliotibial band syndrome stretching that is performed in a side-lying position.
All material on this website is protected by copyright, Copyright © 1994-2016 by WebMD LLC. This website also contains material copyrighted by 3rd parties.