26 March 2018

Myth:  Rolling my ITB is definitely worth the time...

The ITB (iliotibial band) has long been blamed as the culprit for (amongst other things) knee pain in many athletes. Stretches and rolling of the ITB are commonly prescribed for relief.

Interestingly, the reality of making a change to the ITB through stretching or rolling it is more difficult than previously thought. The ITB itself is a thick, dense connective tissue structure which is so strong, anatomists tried to stretch it from cadavers with heavy machinery and only then it was able to be changed by a few millimetres - think old torture chambers kind of stretching! How are we to stretch it then with a foam roller? We can't.

So, what to do for a sore knee that is being irritated by the ITB?

Several muscles insert into the ITB, which will impact the way we move and how 'taut' the ITB is. Perhaps try releasing tensor fascia latae or gluteus maximus. There are many other factors that can alter the ITB, such as an individual's biomechanics e.g. pelvic instability, hip flexor inhibition, glute medius dysfunction or 'bowed' or 'knock' knees (varus/valgus deformities). Not to mention foot and ankle imbalances, thoracic mobility issues (or even poor venous flow somewhere in the body)!

So don't shoot the messenger! You're much more likely to make an impact addressing the above imbalances to build towards a functional pelvis and healthier knees. If you're unsure of where to start or how to go about doing these things, we'll assess your imbalances and point you in the right direction!


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