Your Iliotibial Band (IT Band) is a thick connective strap that extends (similar to a tendon) from the top of your hip & TFL muscle & inserts into the outside of your knee joint. While not responsible for prime movement when walking, running or cycling it is prone to repetitive strain issues & injuries.
As a massage therapist, I look where is the pain and what is the quality of pain. I review globally the architecture of the lower body to help my clients find the source of the problem and release the related tension pattern. With IT band problems usually there is some discomfort on the lateral (outside) aspect of the thigh muscles. Sometimes, if the tension pattern has been on-going there can also be specific pain on the outside of the knee. While IT band issues are commonly grouped in association with repetitive strain injuries, there may also be some muscle imbalances or gait issues at play.
What can you do to heal your own IT band?
- Invest in & get fitted for proper footwear! If your a runner – GO TO AEROBIC’S FIRST! & make sure your daily footwear is sensible and supporting your body well.
- Pain at the knee? ICE ICE ICE! You can ice for 10-15 minutes until you feel a ‘numbing’ sensation. Ice is nature’s anesthetic and can help reduce inflammation as it relates to joint pain.
- Epsom salts bath. 2 cups of Epsom salts and a 12 minute bath have shown to increase the levels of magnesium in soft tissue which helps reduce lactic acid & soft tissue contractures.
- Stretching &/or yoga! Yoga can be great at providing us a strengthening as well as lengthening in the whole body (not just the lower body).
- Foam Rolling: is a form of self massage that’s very effective for relaxing the connective tissue and muscles surrounding the leg & thigh bones.
- While self-care is extremely important, it may be wise to seek advice and treatment from a physiotherapist, massage therapist or athletic trainer.
Addressing the IT band can be helpful for everyone. Helping release it’s state of contracture will help your knees and hips feel better as well as encourage better muscle firing and balance between your hamstrings and quadriceps. Happy Trails!