Stop foam rolling your IT band!

The iliotibial (IT) band is a thick sheet of connective tissue on the outside of the thigh and is a common source of pain on the outer knee, normally called runners knee. We used to think that the band got tight and rubbed over the outside of the femur, causing friction and inflammation of a bursa on the outer knee.

We now know that there isn’t a bursa, it’s actually a fat pad. What’s really going on is a compression syndrome. The fat pad has a lot of nerve endings so when the IT band gets taught, it compresses on the fat pad causing pain. So more pressure applied to it will only add to the inflammation and pain!

If you’ve been rolling and you’re not seeing results, put the roller away as you may be prolonging the irritation and slowing down your recovery. Think about working on the muscles attached to it at the hip. Then address movement faults that lead to the compression in the first place. This should lead to a healthier knee and hip.

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