Stop Rolling Your IT Band!
The IT band is a dense connective tissue that is tendon like and runs along the outside leg and inserts into the lateral knee. Active individuals (mainly runners/endurance athletes) will develop outside knee pain due to this contracted band. This is called IT Band Syndrome.
The problem is that the IT band should not be foam rolled for several reasons.
- There are sensitive structures on the lateral side of the thigh that are responsible for sensation. Nerves DO NOT like to be compressed and when you mash these nerves in the lateral thigh it creates a lot of sensitivity.
- As mentioned before, the IT Band is NOT A MUSCLE!!!! As a result, it does not have the same elastic properties as muscles. When you compress, mash, or foam roll these structures you will not get the same results as when you do the same to a muscle.
- Hip imbalances cause things like IT Band Syndrome. Most people just go to the symptom and not the cause. If there is a hip imbalance, it can put pressure into the hip and cause other structures to tighten up. If the IT band has to tighten up as a result of the dysfunction you will be sure to never get rid of the pain by rolling the symptom. Try rolling other structures
- Finally, the IT band is controlled by a muscle called the TFL (tensor fasciae latae) which tenses and contracts the IT band. If you try and roll this muscle out first, it will likely be a way more effective way to correct the problem and loosen up the IT band.