The iliotibial band, or IT band, is a long sheath of strong, connective tissue that runs from near the top of femur down just below your knee to the outer part of the tibia. Its job is to stabilize your legs and to keep your legs in alignment when you walk and run. The IT band can get irritated from exercise, causing tenderness and pain when you apply pressure upon the tissue, according to the National Academy of Sports Medicine. This is caused by tissue adhesion within the IT band and constant rubbing of the nerve and connective tissues around it.
Things You'll Need
- Foam roller
Roll Out Pain
Lay your right outer hip on top of the foam roller just above your thigh bone. (You can purchase foam rollers at sporting goods and fitness stores.) Prop your body up on your right elbow and forearm on the ground and put your left foot across your body.
Brace your abs and roll your outer thigh over the foam roller slowly. Relax your right leg by breathing deeply into your nose and out through your mouth.
Hold any painful or tender spots when the IT band is compressed on top of the roller. Keep breathing and gently rub the tender area.
Continue to roll down the IT band to the top of your knee and find more tender spots. Repeat step three when you find any.
Thumb Trigger Point Massage
Use your right thumb and gently compress and rub from the top of your outer thigh down to your knee at the tendon structure that attaches to the knee joint.
Hold and gently rub the tender spots in a circular pattern until the tenderness goes away.
Rub gently in the front and the back of your thigh near the IT band in the same manner. Follow step two. Use your second and third finger to rub the back of your thigh.
Tips & Warnings
- You can help stretch your iliotibial band by standing with your right leg in front of the other and raise your right arm over your head. Tighten your right buttock, and lean your torso to your left with your arm over your head. Hold this stretch for five to six deep breaths. Repeat on the opposite side.
- "NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training"; Michael Clark; 2007
- "Stretch to Win"; Ann and Chris Frederick; 2006
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images
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