ITB, What is it?
The ITB or Ilotibial Band is that tight, yes TIGHT, it’s meant to be tight, piece of tissue that runs down the outside of your leg, connecting the the hip to your knee. Im sure we’ve all been on gym floor, tears almost running down your face as you endure the torture that is ITB foam rolling.
Im here to tell you the pain stops today! You are wasting your time.
ITB foam Rolling -WHY?
It seems that when ever someone had pain at the outside of the knee or around the hip , the ITB was the culprit and tightness to blame. And what do we usually do with tightness? We stretch it or foam roll it. Sadly this will do nothing but cause more pain and irritation. Not to mention various studies which have proved no long term benefits associated with foam rolling.
Heres a quick anatomy lesson of the ITB.
Your ITB is a thick fibrous band of fascia- its’ white ( because it gets a a very poor blood supply) and is also non contractile. At the top of the ITB is a small muscle called your Tensor Fascia Late and the Gluteus Maximus. The ITB and its surrounding muscles of the hip work together to stabilise the leg when its’ on the ground, as well as helps the hip move the leg away from the body.
So “WHY” is your ITB tight?
This is the $64,000,000 question. Some area’s we consider are:
- Weakness of the hip muscles
- An increase in your training load or volume
- A change of environment
- Poor flexibility and biomechanics (the way in which we move)
- Foot and ankle restrictions
- Lower back problems
These are just a few of the possible causes. There are so many potential reasons, and it’s the job of your therapist to find the WHY and prescribe a corrective program that addresses the cause.
Should I stop foam rolling all together?
NO, Foam rolling can be a great tool to:
- Reduce muscle tightness
- reduce exercise induced soreness
- improve blood flow to your muscular system
but what it what it wont do is loosen, stretch or release your ITB or any other fascia within the body. Foam rolling has been shown to provide short term benefit.
What should I do?
Foam rolling or targeting your muscles is a better option. They have a great blood supply and greater tolerance to tools such as a foam roller or lacrosse ball. and has a greater capacity to stretch. There is no better time to foam roll. Before a gym work out, after a gym work out. Spending 3-5 minuets on any given area that it sore, should have great short term benefits. It also shouldn’t bring tears to your eyes? If the area you are targeting doesn’t “ free up quickly” common sense should suggest maybe you shouldn’t be working this area.
My 2 cents…. spend some time working out TFL and Gluteus Maximus. You can thank me later for the new found freedom in the hip and knee, and for not having to endure the pain of ITB foam rolling. Have a look at the video below on how we best like to address the TFL.
At Equilibrium Sports and Spinal clinic we really thrive on helping Glen Iris locals who suffer with ITB tightness and subsequent hip or knee pain. Our Osteopaths service Malvern, Glen Iris Ashburton, Hawthorn and Caulfield. Book online today, and let us help you turn your ITB tightness into a thing of the past, without having to endure ITB foam rolling.
Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We are also more than happy to chat via our Drift Chat box in the bottom right hand corner.