“Ouch!” Think of that dreaded feeling when you’re putting your entire body weight onto the foam roller and gliding it down your IT Band. “It’s supposed to hurt,” you tell yourself. “It’s good for me,” you think. What if I told you that you don’t have to go through any unbearable discomfort during your stretching and foam rolling routine? What if I told you that it’s actually not good for you? Most importantly, what if I promised you an alternative that is more effective? Well, you’re in luck! Keep reading, and I’ll keep my promise!
But first, let’s start with an understanding of where and what exactly the IT Band is and does. The Iliotibial Band (i.e., IT Band) is a long, fibrous attachment of your tensor fascia lata (TFL; a gluteal muscle). It lies on the lateral (or outside) portion of your thigh and helps extend, abduct, and laterally rotate your hip. It’s also a lateral stabilizer for the hip and knee joint. When your TFL contracts, it pulls on your IT Band, making it taut. Your IT Band also covers a superficial nerve called the Lateral Femoral Cutaneous Nerve. This nerve lies right under the IT Band and is very sensitive (especially when you’re pressing it between a foam roller and your IT Band … hence the pain you feel while you foam roll the area). The sensitivity and pain you feel related to this nerve is why you don’t want to foam roll your IT Bands.
So, what can you do when you have IT Band Syndrome, knee pain, hip pain, or general discomfort around your IT band but you can’t foam roll? Does the world end? Is all hope lost? Absolutely, not! I outline some steps next that you can follow for relief without the discomfort.
1. Stretch your IT Band
a. Stand with one leg crossed over the other with the leg you want to stretch in the back. Lean your body weight towards your front leg until you feel the IT Band stretch. Hold for 20-30 seconds.
2. Foam roll your TFL muscle
a. Place your TFL (located on the upper, lateral portion of your leg-see the picture above to be sure) on the foam roller. Then place the same side elbow on the ground for support. Roll out the area gently, making sure not to roll too far down and into the IT Band. You can also rock your body back and forth to work about the region.
3. Foam roll your Quadriceps muscles
a. Place the quad you are foam rolling directly on the foam roller with your other leg placed next to it on the ground for support. Then, bring your heel up to your glute muscle (taking the muscle from a lengthened to a shortened position) Repeat in area 4-5 times and then roll down to a different area on your quad muscle and repeat.
4. Stretch your Hamstring muscle
a. Lie with your back on the ground and place the leg you are
stretching in the air. Take a towel or band and wrap it around your foot that is in the air. Pull the towel or band toward your upper body slowly as your feel the hamstring stretch. Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat.
Your fix-it yourself routine isn’t working? How can Well Set help?
- Get a chiropractic adjustment to align your pelvis, knee, and foot to be biomechanically sound.
- Receive manual therapy in the form of Active Release Technique, Graston, or FAKTR (Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization).
- Let one of our certified doctors tape you up using Kinesiology Tape.
- Learn constructive exercises from one of our providers to strengthen weak muscles that contribute to your discomfort.
- Utilize a foam roller and lacrosse ball in our rehab area. We can show you some more great exercises to try!
- Get a massage focused on your complaint areas to work more on soft tissue issues.
For more information or to set up an appointment, give us a call / text at 720.739.0745. Or, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org