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My Experience with IT Band Release Surgery

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Dealing with chronic IT band pain for years? I battled IT band problems for over 5 years and ended up getting IT band release surgery. Here’s my recap of the surgery and my recovery so far.

photo of woman working out and resting with hands on knees

Hey friends! If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I just had another surgery last month (my 5th surgery in 2 years, and hopefully my last…).

On July 22 and I went in for an IT band release surgery and I wanted to share the surgery with you and outcomes so far. Yesterday was the close of 3 weeks post-surgery, and I’m doing well so far! Here’s a recap of the surgery.

Just fix it, doc

I’ve shared previously on the blog about my struggle with IT band syndrome over the years. For too long, actually. It’s been about 6 years since I started having IT band problems and while I had a few times where it looked like it was improving, it kept getting worse and worse.

We tried everything: physical therapy (I was a very frequent visitor there), dry needling, massage, cupping, Graston/iStim, ultrasound therapy, electro stim, targeted strength training and stretching routines, taping, and eventually last fall 2 cortisone shots from my knee surgeon.

Nothing helped for very long. Relief was only very temporary, if I got any at all.

Just like with my hysterectomy surgery, I had tried everything I could to make things better consistently for years and nothing helped, so surgery was the next step.

We had planned on doing my knee surgery last fall/winter, but I injured my hip and had to put off my knee surgery until my hip was completely healed.

I was finally ready to have surgery and FIX IT permanently. I was ready to feel better already!!

My knee surgery

Once my hip was completely healed up from my labral hip repair surgery, I was ready for the IT band release surgery. This of course meant that my summer was pretty much down the drain from 2 surgery recoveries, but the sooner I could get this fixed the better.

It had gotten to the point where I couldn’t even do 10 minutes on the arc trainer/elliptical at my gym without having to stop due to knee pain. Not good.

My surgeon went ahead and did a scope inside the knee to check my meniscus (which was fine) and he found some plica in my knee on the lateral of my knee so he removed that. Plica can cause knee pain as well, so it was probably one of the culprits in my chronic knee pain.

Then he made a large incision on the outside of my knee to remove the bursa (it was very angry, inflamed, and red), and then released the IT band by making multiple small incisions in the band to loosen it.

So I ended up with 3 incisions in my knee, but the doctor closed them up with mesh and surgical glue, so they will heal up very nicely, much smaller scars than if he had used stitches.

Healing up after knee surgery

My labral hip repair surgery in March went so well and I had so little pain with that surgery that I was expecting something similar with my knee. Boy was I wrong.

My knee post-surgery wasn’t excruciating or anything, but I definitely had more pain than my hip surgery and more pain than I was expecting to have. After my hip surgery went so well, I was expecting less pain. Hopefully this is my last surgery for a while (or forever, I’d be okay with that!).

The surgeon released me without crutches or a brace, so I was immediately released to walk as tolerated, and we drove 4 hours home right after I was released from the surgery center.

photo of leg propped up after IT band knee surgery with an ice pack
Driving home after knee surgery

After surgery, I didn’t take percocet or vicodin because narcotics really mess with me (Percocet makes me sick and both Vicodin and Percocet make my bowels slow…), so I made do with Tylenol and Ibuprofen, and managed pretty well with those.

If I had had a more extensive knee surgery, I’d definitely have used the vicodin. Knees are painful 🙁

I was also put on antibiotics for 5 days, but the doctor let me stop taking it after 2-1/2 days since it hurt my stomach so badly. It was a pretty aggressive antibiotic and dosage, and my stomach couldn’t handle it. One day I took my afternoon and evening dose too close together, and I was up almost all night with horrible GI spasms.

That was the worst experience I’ve ever had with antibiotics, even worse than partially losing my sense of taste with some antibiotics I had to take in the past!

My IT Band Surgery recovery timeline

Here’s my IT band release recovery timeline, please note that surgery recovery is unique to each individual and my experience may not be the same as other people’s experience. This is not meant to replace medical advice, just an overview of my experience with healing from my knee surgery.

Week 1

Lots of sitting and ice the first week! I had my Ace wrap and dressing on my leg for 3 days, and also started physical therapy on day 3. We started PT so early to make sure that my IT band gets stretched out as it heals to prevent scar tissue from forming and causing tightness again.

My physical therapist recommended a cane for me to help with walking if I needed since limping can cause muscle spasms and muscle imbalances. But I worked through my walking issues by moving slowly and deliberately, and it improved.

leg after IT band knee surgery with ACE wrap on entire leg
Post surgical dressing included ACE wrap on almost my entire leg

Week 2

My knee pain and swelling is improving, and small improvements in range of motion, but my knee is still painful and has swelling in it. Right now, we’re doing 3 physical therapy sessions each week. I’m walking more normal now.

My physical therapy appointments always help, we work on some exercises and mobility within ROM, and we use compression, ice, elevation, and e-stim simultaneously to get the swelling down (I usually have pretty great ROM after my PT appointments).

My knee started swelling up pretty good during week 2, so I got a lightly compressive knit sleeve from physical therapy to help keep the swelling down in my knee, and that has helped some.

I was also told not to sit too long on one position, I needed to keep changing positions and moving to keep things from getting stiff and to help move the fluid out of my knee.

Week 3

I started into week 3 with a little bit of recumbent bike during physical therapy, so that’s good! I had to reach a certain degree of flexion on my knee joint before I could start using the recumbent bike.

Exactly 2 weeks out from surgery (starting into the 3rd week), I’m officially off of pain medication (which at this point was just Tylenol). My pain is pretty much gone, I just have a little bit of discomfort with swelling and some weird spasms behind my knee sometimes (probably from swelling pressing on nerves, the sleeve helps that).

I had my follow-up appointment with my surgeon on the 2 week mark (ending 2 weeks and beginning into the 3rd week) and he said my knee had more swelling than he’d like to see, so I’ll be wearing a tighter compression sleeve on my knee daily (not at night) until the swelling goes down.

I’m using the BioSkin compression sleeve that I got fitted for me at physical therapy, and it’s been working good although it has stretched out some with use.

Week 4

Moving into week 4, the swelling is improving and the range of motion in my knee is better! The sleeve is helping quite a bit, with the swelling reduced, my knee moves and feels better. I’m also upping my icing sessions to help with swelling too.

My kneecap keeps popping since it’s not sure what to do with itself yet while I’m walking, but once the swelling goes down more and the surgical sites completely heal, my kneecap will find its proper place.

At the end of week 3 going into week 4, I was able to finally remove my surgical tape/mesh. The doctor used a mesh with surgical glue on it as wound closure, and it worked great to keep my incisions together while bending my knee, but I still had an allergic reaction to the wound dressing.

My incisions look great so far, but since people can be squeamish about that stuff, you can see the photo of my knee incisions by clicking here rather than me posting the photo right in the post. 😉 They should heal up nicely!

So far I’ve had allergic reactions to every surgical tape that’s been used after my surgeries, and it’s gotten so bad a few times that I ended up with some pretty bad blisters from it. I had perfectly square shaped rashes on my knee once we removed the mesh, and the itching was crazy, but now that it’s gone my allergic reaction should heal up in a week or so.

I’ve noticed that since I’ve been sitting more after my knee surgery, my hip has been getting tight again due to scar tissue trying to form again after my hip surgery 5 months ago. I have to make sure that I’m stretching my hip regularly otherwise scar tissue will try to form and get painful again!

Week 5-6

The swelling in my knee has been doing great, and my kneecap is finding its place instead of popping a lot when I do activity.

I started in the gym this week with easy indoor bike, physical therapy exercises for my hips and glutes, and some upper body exercises. It feels good to get back in the gym!

My regular exercises include clams with a band, side lying leg adductor raises, bridges, muncies, RDLs, and quad sets to help strengthen my glutes to keep my knees in proper alignment. I have these exercises included in one of my no-squat leg workouts.

I also started doing the leg press at physical therapy and backwards walking on the Matrix self-propelled treadmill they have (this has been a great tool in my hip and knee physical therapy sessions).

My incisions are doing great, but I had one portion of my larger incision that wasn’t healing or closing properly. We found out it was an internal stitch that wasn’t dissolving, and once that was cleaned out (one of my physical therapists did that), it healed up quickly.

With the lower activity from my knee surgery, my hip has been forming scar tissue and has been hurting lately, so starting a regular exercise and stretching routine again will help a ton.

woman runner holding painful knee

6 week checkup

I had my 6 week follow up with my doctor and he said my knee looks great. The area of my long incision that hadn’t wanted to heal correctly was where my knot from the internal stitches were, so my body was rejecting it rather than absorbing it like it should have. But it’s healing up good now so far.

My doctor said I was able to do everything except explosive exercises and movements, and I have to follow up with him in another month after my 6 week mark.

I’ve been going to the gym regularly now in between physical therapy sessions during the week, but I’m keeping it low impact at the gym with the bike, elliptical, strength training, etc. No jumping or running yet. Probably no pool workouts for a while longer since part of my incision was behind in healing.

I told my doctor that my kneecap had been popping in and out of place when I moved more (bike and stairs in my house mostly), and he said that was normal after a surgery like this. My kneecap is not popping as much, so it’s finding its place.

My doctor also said I was free to roll my IT band with a roller as much as I needed, and not to let my IT band catch up and get tight again. So I have been rolling both IT bands again. Ironically, my left IT band that I had hip surgery on and not knee surgery is getting tight and painful…. So I need to be working on that regularly too so I don’t have any issues on that side!

10 Week checkup (last checkup!)

I just had my 10-week and last checkup by the doctor yesterday! I am free to do all exercise now, my knee is doing great except for some kneecap popping, which is less frequent now as the kneecap is still finding it’s proper place on my knee.

He wants me to do a few more weeks of physical therapy to continue to build the strength back in my leg, and strengthen my glutes and VMO to continue helping with proper kneecap tracking.

My doctor reminded me that even though my leg is doing great after my surgery, it won’t stay that way if I slack off my exercises, rolling, and stretching, so I need to stay on top of keeping my IT bands flexible and happy.

So far so good! I’ll start doing some easy running this week to get back into running gradually and very easily as I continue to strengthen my legs after my 2 surgeries this year. I’ve been going to the gym and PT regularly to help, and I’m gradually getting my cardio capacity and strength back up.

My goals for the next few months are to continue to strengthen what needs strengthened, create that consistent habit of regular exercise, and start to lose the little bit of weight I gained the past 2 years from my surgeries.

6 months post op (December)

Just adding an update to this post about 6 months post op! I started to try and run again but kept having knee pain on the inside of my knee (opposite of where my knee pain was before).

For running, I was taking it easy, trying the treadmill at first to make it less jarring on my knee, doing walk-run intervals, keeping up with my strength training, but my knee pain kept getting worse when I’d try to run.

I noticed that my kneecap was moving upward more and more. My quadriceps tendon has been getting tight, and moving my kneecap upward. So it’s still not tracking correctly, but in a different way now.

My doctor said that my kneecaps naturally are higher than most “normal” people (genetics or something), and that causes my kneecaps to track abnormally anyway. But since my right kneecap is especially high, it’s causing kneecap pain all over my kneecap (fortunately I had no arthritis under my kneecap that they could see during the scope).

I went back to my doctor and he’s prescribed me a brace, so I’m waiting for that to come in to my physical therapist’s office. If I still have pain, I’ll go back to physical therapy in January.

I went ahead and stopped my workouts until I can get the brace so I don’t continue to aggravate my knee even more and cause damage. It might take me longer to get back to running than I had thought!

But I’m optimistic that this will eventually get sorted out. If I need to give up running for a while (or even permanently) I guess I’m okay with that as long as I can do other things like hiking, biking, swimming, etc.

Upward and onward!

black and white photo of woman running with text overlay

56 thoughts on “My Experience with IT Band Release Surgery”

  1. Sarah,
    My ortho doc s not me for a second, actually third, opinion. I went to the total joint replacement and joint revision folks. The agree, it is the IT band. My next appointment with my doc I am going to push for a release procedure. I wanted to check with you again. Are things going well for you? Would you do anything different, regrets…sorry a bit gun shy after all the tests and failures.

    • I am doing much better since my IT band release, I think the removal of my bursa did the most for my pain relief. My biggest frustration was the trouble I had with my kneecap moving up too much after the scope, but I think that wouldn’t have been an issue if I didn’t have the scope or hadn’t done so many quad sets during recovery (I think it tightened my quad tendon when the tendons under my knee should have recovered first). But overall, I am doing much better after the release and bursectomy than I was before, even after 4 years now. I do have to add the disclaimer that this is my own personal experience, and I can’t guarantee this same outcome for everyone.

  2. Hi there, I had a hip bursectomy around 4 years ago and have been living with chronic pain ever since. My surgeon didn’t do an MRI after my surgery and just put me on strong pain medication which I have been in since the surgery. The medication is not effective now and i have constant aching from above my hip down to my knee. I have a new GP and he sent me for an MRI. The result was I have an excessive build up of fluid in my hip and it is tearing the IT band. I still wonder if this has resulted from having the bursectomy . I am waiting to see my original surgeon but could be a long time as i am a public patient.

  3. Sarah, thank you for sharing your story. I have had IT band issues since a TKR (total knee replacement)in April of 2021. The pain extended from my hip to knee. There was incredible burning as well. I also had pain going down my inner thigh. My knee surgeon finally ordered a MRI of my hip and found a torn hip Labrum. For that surgery I went to a different surgeon who did a great job. The surgery was in late April of 2022. I was three weeks non weight bearing and became so excited because all pain went away. As I started weight bearing the pain from my IT band came back. It is not as severe up my thigh but as severe or more around my knee. I have lost ROM in my “new knee” due to pain and swelling. I have used foam rollers, stretching, rolling pins, PT, icing… Rest helps, but my health, work and personality will not allow to sit still. All this to say, thank you for sharing your story. I have been reading about the release surgery and you have given the most personal information I have found. The pain has become unbearable. I have been released by my PT for my hip. The doc wants to see me again to start addressing the IT band. You have given me hope that this will be my last surgery. I am done and my wife is growing a bit weary as well :). Thank you for sharing your experience!

    • Hi Chip! I hope you’re able to get relief with your doctor. I had a labral tear in my left hip as well and had surgery for that not too long before my knee surgery. I feel you! I had my 6th surgery in April (not related to my hip or knee), but surgeries are getting old pretty fast, especially between my husband and me (he’s had quite a few as well). I hope all goes well for you!

      • Like you, my story continues. I have done everything forever a year. I have stretched, foam rolled, used a massage gun, dry needled twice and have has two cortisone shots. I go back this week to the doc. I don’t see another route but IT band release. My doctor is conservative so I see my recover taking a similar course to yours. Thank you for allowing us to follow your recovery, I trust I will be pain free or greatly reduced soon.

  4. Hey Sarah,

    Im about to get operated at my it band in 2weeks, have been an iflamated knee for over 3 years and finally went for an ultrasound last week, I have tears in my tendon and the bone it rubs against is also damaged. I was glad to know what the problem is and that there’s a solution for it. My knee specialst said its a frequently done operation and should heal well and could go for (marathon) running again (start training) after 6 months. Reading your blog and all the comments freak me out cuz it seems so delicate and no one seems te recovery fully… Anyway… Thanks for your experience. Gues i must stay fully positive and hope on total recovery, plus stretch A LOT…. Greetings, Bart (how are you doing now? hows running go?)

    • Hi Bart! I hope everything goes well with your upcoming surgery. I haven’t been running as much these days just because I have been struggling to do consistent workouts since I had covid last spring and I just had stomach surgery this spring, plus stress and chronic headaches over the past year or 2. I’m working on getting back into a regular routine again, my knee doesn’t hurt when I run. I do notice that if I am too sedentary for too long (such as for several weeks), the IT bands on both sides get pretty tight again, so staying active and regularly doing my rolling and exercises to keep my muscles balanced is an ongoing thing. I’ve had hip surgery as well and notice it gets tighter faster if I’m not active like I should be (I work a lot at my desk these days), so my best advice is making sure you get a good physical therapist after surgery and maintaining good activity, strength exercises, and myofascial release long term afterward once you’re released for exercise. Being sedentary is one of the hardest things on my body these days, so I’m working hard to get back into daily movement.

  5. Like many folks here, it’s looking like I’m destined for IT band surgery very soon. I had a TNR in July, then at about the 2 month mark I started feeling burning pain and snapping/grinding on the outside of my knee. I went back to my surgeon who injected the bursa with cortisone, then told me to come back in 6 weeks. During and prior to that 6 weeks, I had been going to Physio twice weekly, and had the same treatments as most here. Dry needle, ultrasound, electric stimulus, heat, and lots of exercises. At the 6 weeks mark, it was worse than before, so doc injected again with 2 needles of cortisone this time, put me on celebrex and told me to recheck in 6 to 8 weeks again. Just this week, I called to move up that apot to this coming Monday because my symptoms are much, much worse and I am no longer able to walk even around my yard without searing pain. It burns all the time, and I can’t walk downhill at all. If I do, I have to a weird shuffle, one step at a time, or walk back and forth and weave my way down. I am assuming surgery is next. My question is whether a person loses stability in the IT band itself once its been released. And also, is removing the bursa common, or should I talk to my doc about that?

    • Hi Jen, I think there is a little bit of instability with the IT band right after surgery, but it does actually tighten up again (my surgeon said that it does tighten up some again and I found that to be the case for me). It’s not as tight as it was before, but it tightened up the months and years after surgery, so if there was any instability after surgery (not sure if there was any instability or not) it is no longer there for me.

      I’m not sure about the bursa, if that’s something every surgeon removes with this surgery. I think that all depends on the person and their needs and what the surgeon actually finds during surgery.

      I hope you can get some relief for your knee! It definitely is frustrating to have so much pain.

      • I have read three procedures. A lazy s cut along the IT band. There is a bursa removal and removal of the piece of band that is rubbing. The third is scoring the IT band to release it. I had the scoring done on my achilles and it worked well. I am asking my doc about the lazy s and the scoring. I hate to remove parts!

    • Hi Jen
      I just read your post from Dec and wonder where u are now? I had my second TKR in Feb 2021 and three weeks in I started to have terrible pain on the lateral side of that knee. It has been a very long journey which included numerous types of treatments, MRI’s and more. My walking has deteriorated to a point where I am also weaving in and out and also developed a tendon issue in the opposite ankle. The knee is stiff and I feel
      Like I am carrying an extra five pounds in it. I am scheduled for knee revision in a week but would love to hear more from you. There are very few resources out there on this mess

  6. I had IT Band release surgery while I was active duty in the Army. Here I am, 26 years old, 3 years later and it is worse than ever. What makes it so bad, I had both knees done at the same time! My doctor said he has never done the surgery before and now I can definitely tell because I definitely think he made it worse. IT bands suck!

    • Oh no, so sorry to hear that! Having an experienced surgeon is so important, when I had talked to my hip doctor about doing hip surgery on both sides at once he said absolutely not. I hope you can get some relief, have you tried looking for another doctor? Were you limited to which doctors you could see because you were in the Army?

  7. Hi Sarah,

    I just wanted to say a massive thank you for this post! I am having IT band surgery next week and am terrified as never had any surgery / general anaesthetic before. I’m 25 and have had 2 years of IT pain and gone though all the same treatment as above with no resolve. Is there any tips you have towards preparing for surgery / post surgery things. When were you able to actually walk around again after the surgery without a stick or lots of discomfort time wise? What was the most painful part, the stitches or the actual inner knee itself or your thigh?
    Thanks !!

    • Hi Saskia! I would say that the most painful part of my knee surgery was the knee joint itself and the side of my knee vs. just my thigh. But that’s where all my pain had been before surgery as well so that made sense. I didn’t have too much pain toward my upper leg. I had some trouble keeping the swelling under control after my surgery so I needed to ice it more and have a compression sleeve on it for a while. It was more painful and I felt like it took longer to recover from than my hip surgery.

      They encouraged me to move it right away, so I was moving around and in physical therapy pretty soon after my surgery to get it moving. I definitely recommend having a good ice machine for after surgery. We had a Bregg one from my husband’s various surgeries that we used for my knee. For a few days I slept in our reclining chair in my living room with my leg propped up until I felt ok sleeping in bed (still with my leg propped up). It helps if you have lots of pillows or pillows designed for elevating your leg.

      I hope your surgery goes well!

  8. Thank ya for sharing ya story .I had back surgery for a ruptured disc in 2018 .That caused me to have IT band trouble .2019 I had ITBand surgery .It did really good as for the pain but the last 2 months my It band is killing me walking and real bad on long days at work.Has anyone run into this and if so what treatment did you do .I’m out on surgery .

    • Hi Lynna, I’d talk to your surgeons (both back and knee) again, maybe you’re having referred pain from your back into your hip and IT band or an inflamed hip bursa, or imbalances? Your doctors or physical therapists should definitely be able to help you pinpoint what’s going on, I hope you find some relief!

  9. Hi Sarah,

    I had IT Ban Release on December 8, 2021, I am still have pain down my leg and starting therapy all over again. I do my stretching to help keep the Ban lose and sometimes it helps only for a little while. what would you recommend I try different to get relief. I must say I don’t hurt as much as I did before surgery, I just want it to go away completely! what are your thoughts?


    • Hi Cedric! Sorry to hear about that, I can’t give out medical advice, but a few things you might keep in mind is if your bursa is still there and they didn’t remove it, that might be causing an issue still. Or stretching might not be enough for you, you might need to regularly foam roll, massage, or use a percussion massager on your leg to help keep it lose in addition to stretching.

  10. Hi Sarah,

    I’m glad I found your blog post. Makes me feel like someone can understand the pain and journey I’ve been on this last year. I don’t have any recollection of hurting myself but started to have bad knee pain outside my left knee in Feb 2020. I couldn’t do any exercise without hurting. I tried PT, cortisone, PRP injection, cupping/needling, etc., and got no relief. Finally, they found my left labrum hip tear and had that fixed in Aug 2020. I was doing great with the pain finally going away but have had a bad IT band flare up again and terrible back pain. I’ll be getting surgery to lengthen my IT Band/clean-up meniscus this month and hope this will be the last of the surgeries.

  11. Hi Sarah, I’m so glad that I found this post because information on IT band surgey is so limited. I’ve had chronic ITBS for 2 and a half years and tried all conservative methods but nothing has worked. I’ve pretty much stopped all exercise for the past three months but I can still feel it lingering just waiting for me to do something wrong. I can’t even do beginner ab exercises (with no planking or anything) without irritating it. Even walking throughout the day is too much. It has inhibited my whole life and I sometimes feel frustrated to tears thinking it will never go away. I went for an MRI and they found nothing wrong. My surgeon said he did not think I would respond well to the surgey and that he didn’t want to do it. My IT band is no longer tight as I do no exercise these days but the ache on the side of the knee remains. I sometimes also feel pain along the band but it isn’t tightness. Could it be that the entire band gets inflamed? Do you think if I had my bursar removed it would likely help with my knee pain? I’d also love to know how you are doing now with your recovery?

    • Hi Kristin, I’m glad you found us! I think a lot of my severe pain was from my bursa, and the IT band rubbing against my bursa. My IT band has gotten tighter again, but not as bad as it was before. And that is my own fault for not staying consistent with my exercise and rolling. My body just needs that consistent activity and rolling, anytime I’ve slacked on either of them my IT bands get tight and stiff. I think even though my IT band is tighter than it was immediately post surgery, it still isn’t as painful since the inflamed bursa isn’t there to cause the severe pain anymore. My kneecap is finally settling into place, that has been my biggest struggle with this surgery was my kneecap trying to sit too high, and I really had to stay on top of things to get it back to where it needed to be. We went hiking in Zion a couple weeks ago and there were a lot of stairs in one hike we did, I just had a mild ache from it, but nothing bad. That is usually from my kneecap not sitting right, but that has gotten much better. I think it was also mostly due to my slacking off on exercises and stretching/rolling before and after the hike more than anything. Ironically, not exercising makes my IT bands feel even worse! I know that after my hip surgery, I sat so much healing up, and my knee got even worse. Once I was able to exercise again, I couldn’t even do 10 minutes on the elliptical without pain in my knee. I hope you can find someone to help you! It might be worth getting a second opinion, I know my doctor had told me the surgery was a last resort, but I had pretty much tried everything and it was what I needed.

  12. Thanks for the info! I’ve struggled with lots of knee pain in the past 8 years (started under the knee cap) so had surgery to remove some plica and do a lateral release of the tendon that was causing my knee cap to track abnormally. That was 2 years ago and now my pain has moved to the outside; my IT band now. After months of physical therapy and years of knee pain, I told my doctor that I was tired and to take the whole leg (kidding of course), they suggested IT band lengthening surgery after some more pain management techniques. After reading your experience, I’m optimistic about my outcome. Wishing you the best on keeping your knee in top shape!

    • Thank you Christina! I think my kneecap is finally in the place it should be, although probably still not perfect, but better. I hope everything goes well for your knee, let us know how it goes for you if you decide to do surgery!

  13. Sarah,
    Enjoyed reading about your journey. Thanks for your thoroughness.
    Here’s an article from Stanford. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10959926/ you’ll notice that after 6 months, there was no recurrence of ITBS. But instead of VMO, you’re working gluteus medius.

    Also, there’s a lateral arch on the foot. It’s typically two inches long between the heel and a midpoint bump (this is the base of the 5th metatarsal). If you put a half circle pad in the gap, it often provides medial knee pain relief.

  14. Thanks for all of this information. I just had a cleanup job on a torn meniscus and had a lot of plica that was removed as well. They also lengthened my IT band. I had no expectation as to the degree of pain and difficulty I would have walking after the surgery. I’m a little more than two weeks out and don’t start physical therapy until this week. It’s encouraging to see improvement that you have experienced.

    • You’re welcome Abby! I hope everything goes well with your recovery. My knee surgery was definitely more painful and recovery took longer than my hip surgery, which I didn’t think would be the case going into it. The only reason my knee recovery felt like it took longer was because my kneecap was out of place for the longest time after surgery, but I think we’ve got it figured out (fingers crossed!).

  15. Hi Sarah,

    I want to thank you for writing about this as it’s hard to find a lot of information on this surgery. I myself have have had chronic pain in my IT band for over 6 years and have tried all sorts of things to relieve it. I’ve tried hip exercises, scraping, ultrasound, chiropractics, quad strengthening, etc. I got an X-ray and an MRI and they found nothing. I recently got a cortisone shot about 6 months ago and it worsened my pain. One doctor recommended an arthroscopic and one recommended the IT band release surgery. Since you got both, I wanted to ask if you think one was better than the other? Which benefited you most? Any insight helps!

    • Hi Callie! Since I had both of those things done at the same time, it’s really hard for me to say which one helped the most. My IT band has tightened up again (not as tight as before) but I don’t have the pain now because my bursa is gone. I think removing the bursa probably made the most difference out of everything since it was so inflamed, but removing the plica and lengthening the IT band also helped, too. It’s hard to say which one worked best since they all worked pretty good done all together. I hope you can find some relief! It’s frustrating for sure.

    • My name is Rachel . And I have been suffering with IT band pain for 4 years now. It hurts when I ly down. I have to constantly sleep in my recliner because I can’t bear the pain at night. I have tried everything too. Shots beside the knee Wong the leg , the hip and I have a hip busitis. I injured my IT band when I had a fall . If the way I fell that tore my meniscus and injured my IT. I have tried PT twice creams of all sort nothing helps. My last option would be the Band Release. I have an appointment this week if I don’t do something about it I could be out of work.

  16. This is really helpful to read. I had a hip labral tear repaired and an FAI removed last year. Recovery was going great and then I started to have increasing tightness and a loss of flexibility in my surgery. It turned out to be my IT band causing the majority of the issues and I’m having very little success with the conservative treatments, the same way you did. I’m actually seeing my surgeon tomorrow to discuss my next step. Was your IT band syndrome an issue before your labral tear? Thank you!

    • Hey Leslie! My labral tear and IT band problems were on opposites sides actually: my hip labral tear was on my left side and my IT band problems and surgery were on my right side. I’ve had problems with right IT band for years, I’m not sure why but my IT bands have always been a bit tight (I have to be very diligent about rolling and exercise for it), but my right IT band started causing real problems about 7 years ago or so. Removing my bursa and the plica in my knee also helped a lot.

      My left IT band has always been much better than my right one, it has gotten tight after my hip surgery on that side, but we anticipated that it could be a problem so we stayed on top of it to keep it from getting too tight on that side. My left IT band is now tighter than my right side for the first time in forever, but if I stay on top of it and do my exercises and regular rolling it seems to do okay.

  17. Hi Sarah , I have been dealing with It band for exactly a year now going to PT, cortozone, acupunture, deep tissue massages, strength exercises, pool workouts. I have tried everything that you went through my lowest point was 5 months back I couldn’t walk 1 block without getting the stabbing pain left side of knee 3 times for 1 block just walking! I progressed to where I can walk now a few miles but it still has pains and all the leg muscles get weak so fast compared to my strong leg. Every doctor I talked to told me that the ITB release surgery is a hit or miss and to not do it and they havent done that surgery in over 10 years. I passed the FDNY test and was on my way to become a firefighter, the academy consists of running 5 miles a day I am just wondering after your surgery which seemed like a tough journey I feel your pain are you capable of running miles without pain ?

    • Hi Mike! Right now I’m not running a whole lot, and it’s mostly that since my kneecap wasn’t sitting right and limited my running at first, but now that I can run more, I’ve been quite frankly out of shape for it and it’s been a struggle to get my cardio endurance back up. I’m still dealing with my kneecap trying to move upward and riding high, but it hasn’t been bothering my when I run, just when I’m doing squats and lunges. I think for me, the biggest culprit was the scope sites deactivated some of the tendons and muscles below my kneecap so it’s been moving upward out of it’s groove. If I had just had the IT band release without the scope, my kneecap probably wouldn’t be moving out of place as much.

      So I guess it depends on what all you’re having done. My surgeon did a wonderful job on my knee and I got a lot of benefit from the IT band release. My IT band is not as loose as it was right after surgery (partly because it’s going to happen anyway and partly because I’ve struggled with keeping consistent with my exercise since my knee surgery), but it’s still much better and I’m pretty confident that I’ll be able to build my mileage again if I continue to address my kneecap riding high with my brace during certain exercises consistently.

      I hope you can find some good treatment and be able to continue running! And congrats on passing the FDNY test, that’s great 🙂 The pain is really frustrating, I think a lot of my pain was the bursa under my IT band, it was so inflamed and angry that just removing that helped a lot, too. Good luck and keep me posted!

  18. I had total knee replacements 3 weeks in from my surgery something popped in my knee when I was trying to put on my support hose. I have had pain from my IT band ever since cannot sometimes straight my leg out without having knife like fillings around my knee. I was wondering if that’s how yours was.
    Any information would be wonderful.

    • Hi Susan, that’s sounds like something you should talk to your doctor about. My IT band problems were more of a persistent aching on the outside of my knee (a lot of that was bursa, too). I had some sharp pains, but it was mostly achiness. I can share my experience only but can’t give medical advice, so I’d visit with your doctor about that.

    • Hi Abby, I had Dr. Aukerman from Premier Bone and Joint in Laramie, Wyoming, do the surgery. He is an assistant team physician for the University of Wyoming athletics department, so he works with a lot of athletes. We’ve been happy with him!

  19. Sarah…sent a reply, actually a question last Sept. about your surgery. I just had a arthroscopic procedure to remove a small piece of torn meniscus on the inside of my knee and a plica on the outside of my knee…it all went well, but still have the stabbing pain on the outside of my knee after I sit for a while and get up- happens when my knee is bent about 30 degrees and usually only after I’ve walked for a couple of miles. Surgeon told me he didn’t think it was my IT Band, but I think it is. When I try to ride a bike, same pain at 30 degrees. Could you describe the pain you experienced before your surgery? And most important, do you feel the release stopped the pain on the outside of your knee- kneecap issues aside? Was it worth it? I see the surgeon again in a week and am going to ask him about the IT Band again.

    • Hi Tim, the pain on the outside of my knee was centered over the bursa on the outside of my knee and it would vary between stabbing and sharp to a deep ache. I think most of the pain for me was from the irritated bursa, they removed it with my knee surgery and the doctor said it was very angry and inflamed. The surgery did help with my pain. I still have a little bit of achiness and tenderness on the outside of my knee and lower part of my IT band where it attaches to the lower leg, but it’s very manageable and I have a percussion massager that I use to address the tight muscles and tissues I have. Lengthening my IT band helped a lot, but I think removing the bursa helped my pain even more because I think that was the source of the pain since the IT band had been rubbing on it so much over the years.

    • Hi Danielle, my knee is doing really well right now since I used my knee brace for a while. I had quite a bit of kneecap pain as I started getting back into more workouts and it was because my quad tendon was getting tight and pulling my kneecap up and out of place. I got a brace and I added a buttress for my quad tendon and that helped a ton.

      I’ve been trying to add more running and it’s going well now, I’m off the brace now but I still make sure that I’m doing the stretches and strengthening I need to keep my kneecap in the right place. I still think my kneecap sticks out more after the surgery because I had the scope done and for some reason my kneecap sticks out more, but I think over time it will move back down a bit.

      Overall I think the surgery was helpful for me, I just wish I had pinpointed my source of pain after surgery (tight quad tendon) sooner rather than later, but it is what it is and it’s doing better now 🙂

  20. Hello and nice post

    From your experience is it to make an IT band surgery on one leg and a foot surgery to the other leg at the same time?


  21. Considering having this surgery done at some point in the future, so I am regularly following your progress. How much of a part do you think the inflamed bursa played in the pain you felt in the years leading up to your eventual surgery. I am wondering if at some point your IT band becomes tight again, do you think there would considerably less pain, because the bursa is gone? Wondering if simply removing the bursa might be an option in managing the pain that comes with having a tight IT band?

    • Hi Tim, I think that my tight IT band caused the bursitis to begin with, so I’m not sure that just removing the bursa would fix everything because the IT band would still be tight. But in the future, I don’t think my knee wll be quite as painful with my plica and my bursa gone. It has helped a lot already (so has the release), so I’m optimistic that I won’t have the knee pain again that I used to have. You’ll want to visit with a physician who can help you determine where your pain is coming from for the best course of action for you.


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