Rubz IT! Rolling Your Illiotibial Band
Continuing with my mini-series on multiple uses for the Due North Foot Rubz Full Body Massage Tool, I’d like to break down (see what I did there?) Illiotibial Band (or IT Band) Rolling. Your IT Band is a longitudinal fibrous reinforcement of the fascia lata. The action of the ITB and its associated muscles is to extend, abduct, and laterally rotate the hip. In addition, the ITB contributes to lateral knee stabilization.
One of the tactics that many Physicsl Therapists suggest is foam rolling. It is thought that laying on a foam roll and gliding the leg back and forth works by helping a muscle relax and move more easily with the fascia, or connective tissue, that surrounds it.
What rolling on the foam roller doesn’t do is “break up knots” or muscle adhesions. People will say this is what’s taking place, but numerous physical therapy studies show otherwise. Also, actually breaking up a muscle adhesion would require far more force than what a roller can produce—and inflicting that much force may not be healthy for the tissue anyway.
Another issue here is that the IT band isn’t a muscle. You can’t help it relax because it doesn’t contract. It’s a totally different structure.
To make matters worse, a nerve runs through the IT band. Most IT band-related pain is the result of inflammation that puts pressure on that nerve. To fix this issue, you need to relieve the pressure. But foam rolling only adds to it.
How to Relieve IT Band Issues
To fix IT band syndrome or other IT band issues, you need to reconsider your approach. We often fall into the trap of focusing our efforts on the painful area. Though that is well intentioned, it often doesn’t address the source of the pain.
Instead, I’ve tried taking the Foot Rubz and rolling the muscles that surround the IT band, particularly the quads, hamstrings and glutes. The IT band may be forced to compensate and pick up the slack if these muscles aren’t functioning properly. The result is an overworked and inflamed IT band—one that’s more likely to cause problems.
ONE THING I LEARNED TODAY:
I’ve tried Rubz rolling the areas around the IT band helps the muscles and tendons in the thighs work smoother. Even if it doesn’t change anything structurally, it feels a lot better after it’s been rolled. How long lasting of an effect it has is yet to be seen, but it helped me in the short term.