A woman is crouched down and clutching her knee with a look of pain on her face.

Lateral Knee Pain

Lateral Knee Pain

Later Knee Pain

ITB Friction Syndrom, Biceps Femoris Tendinopathy, Joint Pain.

Lateral knee pain (pain on the outside border of the knee) is most commonly the condition Illiotibial band (ITB) friction syndrome (ITBFS).

The suggested cause is an increase in compression in the layer of fat and connective tissue that separate ITB from the lateral epicondyle (bony prominence on side of knee).

However, there are a few other types of lateral knee pain which should be differentiated from ITBFS. 

So What Is The ITB?

The Ilio-Tibial Band (ITB) is a long tendon originating from a hip muscle the Tensor Fascia Latae (TFL) and a partial attachment of the gluteus maximus, and inserts (joins) in the lateral tibia crossing over the knee joint and helps stabilise the knee. 

ITBFS is an overuse injury resulting from repetitive extension and flexion of the knee as well as internal tibial rotation.

The pain in ITBFS is rarely within the ITB but more commonly irritation or inflammation of a bursa (fluid filled sac).

A man running on the road and an arrow is pointing to the lateral of his right knee

ITBFS can be sharp and intense. It will usually not warm up as you run but only get worse the longer you continue. Running downhill  is worse than running on the flat due to the increased impact forces.

Causes of ITBFS

ITBFS can be caused by two opposite motions of excessive pronation (foot rolling in) causes a strain on the ITB from internal knee rotation as well as lateral instability (foot rolling out).It is important to assess the biomechanics causing the injury as these forces need to be addressed.

A man and a woman running downhill

Treating ITBFS

Static stretching of the ITB has not shown to be possible however mechanically stretching the ITB with massage has been shown to be effective.

ITB rollers will reduce recovery time and recurrence.

Another lateral knee injury which present with similar signs of ITBFS is Biceps Femoris tendinopathy. Biceps Femoris is a muscle from the hamstring muscles and pain is experienced normally just before its insertion on the head of the smaller leg bone the Fibula. 

The symptoms between Biceps Femoris and ITBFS can be very similar however the location of where pain is distinctly different being more posterior compared to where ITBFS is experienced.

A diagram of a healthy knee and a knee with osteo-arthritis

Finally, pain on the lateral knee joint is often from trauma, degeneration to the lateral meniscus or Osteoarthritis.

Pain can be experienced along the joint line or within the joint itself. Signs of a meniscus tear can shoe that the knee sometimes gives way.


Osteoarthritis has a gradual onset of pain and stiffness after activity or in the morning. Clinical tests performed by a podiatrist can often identify meniscal abnormality but an MRI may be needed.

It is important that you make an appointment with a podiatrist at Dynamic Podiatry to have an accurate diagnosis in order to recover from the injury and reduce risk of it recurring.  Call 3351 8878 or book online 

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