Many runners develop IT Band Syndrome at some point during their running “careers.” The Iliotibial band, or IT band, is a thick tendon that runs along the outside of your thigh from the hip to the knee. Your glutes and TFL (tensor fascia latae) connect to the IT band and together help move the hip and stabilize the knee.
IT Band Syndrome happens when the band becomes inflamed, which can result in moderate to severe hip or knee pain. It can be caused by repetitive activities including running, cycling, and even squatting with poor form. Mine seems to act up when I sit too much!
The IT band can also react to strength imbalances in the glutes and TFL. Who has these imbalances? Chances are you do (if you’re human).
The general rule for treatment is rest, ice, stretching and foam rolling, which can be painful, but that’s what we expect right? The problem is that the IT band is not a muscle, it is a tendon. Not only that, a nerve runs through it, which, already inflamed, can become more so when you roll directly on the band.
Foam rolling also compresses the IT band into the vastus lateralis, a member of the quadriceps group, and can actually serve to “stick” them more together, instead of releasing them, which is the goal to begin with.
What You Should Do for IT Band Syndrome
So what is a runner to do when they are suffering from IT Band Syndrome? Well, instead of foam rolling directly on the inflamed IT band and potentially causing more pain, it’s time to take a two-pronged approach of activating and strengthening the glutes, and stretching and foam rolling the muscles around it.
In the video below, I demonstrate a foam rolling routine for the hamstrings, quadriceps, and glutes, the muscles that surround the IT band.
Here are some resources for strengthening and stretching the glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings, which can help you treat your IT Band Syndrome.
Have you ever dealt with IT Band Syndrome? What helped relieve your pain?
Remember, I am not a doctor. If you are suffering from pain and inflammation in your IT band, you should see your own physician for correct diagnosis and treatment.
Tools Used in the Body First Videos
A few of you have asked about what tools I’m using in my videos. I use a variety of rollers, balls and other tools in my Body First Videos. While a regular foam roller and a tennis ball are certainly adequate, some special tools can offer a better option. Here are some of my favorites (affiliate links).
Intelliroll: This is the roller I’m using in the hip flexor video. I love that it is contoured to fit my body. The center cut-out allows me to roll my entire back and neck without compressing my vertebrae.
Trigger Point Vibe: I don’t own the Vibe (yet), but I got to try it out at IDEA World and I loved it. It has all the advantages of the Grid with the addition of vibration.
Trigger Point Massage Ball: I really like this massage ball because it is small enough to get into certain tight areas, but it’s not as firm as a lacrosse ball.
Lacrosse Balls: That being said, lacrosse balls are great tools for self-myofascial release. They are firm and great for finding those trigger points. They’re pretty inexpensive too!
Spiky Massage Roller: This is the closest thing I could find to an oval spiky foot roller that I picked up years ago. I have no idea who made it (though I found it on a New Zealand website!). This is similar, though. The benefit of it being oblong is that it won’t slip out or roll away as easily.
High Density Foam Roller: Nothing wrong with the traditional foam roller. The extra length makes it great for different chest openers. I like the high density because it is a little firmer and lasts longer than a simple foam roller.
And Now It’s Time for the Running Coaches’ Corner!
My weekly linkups! Please stop by and check out all of the great recipes, workouts, and information that all these awesome bloggers share every week!
Meatless Monday with Sarah and Deborah
Meatless Monday with Annmarie and Dixya
Tuesdays on the Run with Marcia, Erika, and Patty
Inspire Me Monday with Janice
Wild Workout Wednesday with Annmarie, Jen, and Nicole
The Plant-Based Potluck Party with Deborah
The Running Coaches’ Corner with Rachel, Suz, Lora Marie, and Me!
Friday 5 2.0 with Rachel and Lacey and Meranda