If in case you have tight iliotibial (IT) bands, stretching looks as if the logical resolution. However coping with IT band syndrome, which accounts for 22 % of accidents to the decrease extremities, isn’t so easy; most “IT band stretches” don’t even goal the IT band.

Right here’s what you must find out about relieving IT band tightness and what causes it within the first place.

What Is the IT Band?

iliotibial band anatomy | IT band stretches

The IT band, or iliotibial tract, is a chunk of fascial tissue that runs alongside the surface of the hip and thigh. It begins on the ilium (pelvis) and ends on the tibia within the decrease portion of the leg.

In line with Dr. Theresa Marko, PT, DPT, MS, OCS, board-certified orthopedic medical specialist in bodily remedy and proprietor of Marko Bodily Remedy, PLLC, in New York Metropolis, the IT band has an necessary, multi-faceted job.

“It helps to assist your pelvis and your hip throughout actions like strolling, working, and going up and down stairs in order that your leg and knee keep aligned along with your hip and that your knee doesn’t fall in in direction of the opposite knee,” she says.

“It additionally has an enormous function in serving to the knee to flex/bend and lengthen/straighten. The decrease portion of the IT band modifications its operate with actually each step we take, serving to to straighten and bend the knee,” Marko provides.

Tips on how to Stretch the IT Band

It’s not unusual, particularly amongst athletes and lively folks, for the IT band to really feel painfully tight, which might even trigger ache within the outer knee. So what are the very best IT band stretches?

Technically, there aren’t any, says Lauren Lobert Frison, DPT, OMPT, CSCS, proprietor of APEX Bodily Remedy in Brighton, Michigan. “Your IT band isn’t contractile tissue, like muscle is,” she explains. “Any IT band stretches you discover are actually simply impacting the tensor fascia latae (TFL) muscle,” she says. Situated within the hip, the TFL is a small muscle to which the IT band connects.

tensor fasciae latae anatomy | IT band stretches

To stretch and goal the TFL muscle, Marko recommends the standing aspect bend.

Standing aspect bend

standing side bend demonstration | standing side bend

  • Stand along with your toes about hip-width aside. Carry your arms straight overhead, and cross your left ankle over your proper.
  • Push your hips to the left and bend your higher physique to the precise. Maintain for 30 seconds.
  • Come again by the middle. Launch the stretch, and uncross your legs.
  • Repeat on the alternative aspect.

You may have the choice to carry out standing aspect bend pose subsequent to a wall for steadiness.

IT band therapeutic massage

Physical Therapist Foam Rolls Woman's IT Band | IT Band Stretches

As a substitute of IT band stretches, Marko recommends tissue mobilization or therapeutic massage for tight IT bands. “You wish to loosen the fibers of the IT band, so it stops being so taut and pulling so arduous in your bones,” she says.

A bodily therapist can administer therapeutic massage, use a therapeutic massage gun, or carry out cupping, however you may also do self-myofascial launch utilizing a foam curler, therapeutic massage stick, or Marko’s favourite self-massage device: the tennis ball.

“A tennis ball is a pleasant measurement and strain, performing like an elbow being pressed in,” she says.

To therapeutic massage your IT band and the encompassing tissues, lie in your aspect and place a tennis ball between your IT band and the ground. Chill out as a lot as you’ll be able to, permitting the tennis ball to “soften” your tissues. Slowly work your manner down the IT band by barely adjusting the tennis ball’s place.

Facet-lying leg raise

Woman Does Side Leg Lifts in Gym | Pilates Exercises

Stretching and therapeutic massage can assist relieve the signs of a decent IT band, however if you wish to stop IT band ache, you have to deal with the underlying difficulty.

Once more, a bodily therapist can present an individualized evaluation, however it’s frequent for folks with tight IT bands to have weak gluteus medius muscle mass. The side-lying leg raise can assist strengthen this portion of the glutes.

  • Lie in your aspect along with your hips stacked on high of one another. Use your backside arm to prop up your head and your high arm to assist preserve steadiness.
  • Roll ahead barely and place the underside leg a number of inches behind you.
  • Carry the highest leg 45 levels. “Greater than that, you’re utilizing your again muscle mass to do the lifting,” Marko says.
  • Maintain for one second earlier than reducing the leg. Full all reps on one aspect earlier than switching sides.

What Causes a Tight IT Band?

The IT band helps stabilize the hip and knee throughout actions like strolling, working, and climbing. When the muscle mass across the hip and/or knee should not pulling their weight in these actions, the IT band picks up the slack, inflicting it to tighten. So incorporating energy coaching — particularly glute-targeted strikes — can assist relieve ache or discomfort.

Strolling or working in worn-out soles could contribute to your tight IT bands, so it helps to exchange your athletic sneakers often.

And if you happen to’re coaching for an endurance occasion, drastic spikes in actions like working and biking can set off IT band tightness and ache. Take a gradual method to growing your mileage, and your physique will thanks.

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