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Why You Shouldn’t Foam Roll Your IT Band and What to Do

Updated: Nov 11



What is an IT Band?


The IT band, or the iliotibial band, is a large tendon running outside the thigh from the hip to the knee. The glutes and TFL are connected to the ITB. These muscles are vital for the movement of the hip, such as extending, abducting, and rotating. They also help stabilize and provide movement to the knee's side.


What is an IT Band Syndrome?


IT Band Syndrome (ITBS) occurs due to overuse and repetitive flexion and extension of the knees. This causes the IT band to become tight and irritated, feeling pain when you bend your knees.

ITBS is commonly caused by repetitive movements that lead to overuse injury. The IT band becomes overly tight and rubs against the bone, causing friction, inflammation, and pain.


Why You Shouldn’t Foam Roll Your IT Band


Although foam rolling is often recommended to loosen up a tight IT band, it shows that foam rolling can cause extreme pain and can lead to injury. It is better to reduce the tightness of your hip and leg muscles, including your TFL muscle.


Foam rolling is effective in helping a muscle relax and to increase mobility, but this cannot be applied to your IT band as it is not a muscle. If you foam roll your IT band, you add pressure to the nerve, causing inflammation and pain.


How You Can Deal With Your IT Band Syndrome?


The best option to treat your ITBS is to foam roll the surrounding muscles. These include your glutes, hamstrings, and your quads. With each foam roll exercise, start with one leg at a time.


Quad Roll


First, support your body weight in a press-up position by positioning a foam roller between your quads and the floor. Then, begin to roll your quad muscles from your hip down to the knee. When you roll, make sure you pause and hold in every tight area to help relieve tension.


Hamstring Foam Roll


Start by sitting up and supporting your body weight with your hands and putting the foam roller under your hamstrings. Keep your back straight and your feet straight in front of you. Then, slowly roll back and forth from your glute to your knee while pausing on every tight area. Finally, work on your entire hamstring muscle by moving from side to side.


Glute Foam Roll


Start by sitting on top of your foam roller. Then. place your left foot at the top of your right knee and hold it in place with the right hand while your left hand is behind you. Then, begin by slowly rolling forward – with this, you can feel the stretch within your glutes. And finally, reverse the movement of your foam roller.


Foam rolling is a great way to alleviate pain and discomfort in your IT band, but if you are still experiencing pain, our physiotherapists at Inspine Therapy can help. Active rehab, a type of specialized physiotherapy, can help treat your IT Band Syndrome with a personalized exercise and treatment plan to resolve your pain and prevent future injury. Active rehab is beneficial in helping you have a smooth and quick recovery journey.

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