Issues with the Iliotibial band (IT band) are a common struggle among runners. The IT band is a long, thick band that starts at the hip and runs along the outer thigh. It attaches below the knee joint on the outside of the tibia. The IT band provides stability to the outside of the knee joint during movement by working with the quadriceps.
When the IT band is tight or inflamed it can often cause pain in the hip or at the outside of the knee near the attachment. One way to combat this tightness and inflammation is to foam roll the IT band. Foam rolling is a form of self myofascial release that allows you to break up knots along muscles and smooth out adhesions. This helps the tissue to return to its smooth and elastic state. Think of it as a form of self deep tissue massage.
I made a video tutorial to show you how to roll out your IT bands.
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Some important notes:
- This can be pretty intense, especially if you're new to it. Remember to breathe and embrace the "hurts so good" mantra!
- Go slow! Do not vigorously roll.
- When you find a knot or trigger point, hold for about 20-30 seconds, let it release and move on. Don't take more than a few passes at a tender area. You will only further the inflammation.
- It's normal to feel sensations radiate from the trigger point out to other parts of the leg.
- Foam roll regularly but not all the time (remember, we don't want to further the inflammation). Once a day or before/after runs should do the trick.
Let me know if you have any questions or feedback!