*This technique was originally featured in a testimonial blog post but I decided it needed its own post.
If you have IT Band issues, you’ll love (ok maybe love/hate!) this technique.
Your IT Band actually needs to be “tight” to a certain degree. For a little more on this and why I’m not a fan of rolling your IT Band like most people do from hip to knee with a straight leg, see this post.
The IT Band is comprised mostly of fascia. In fact it’s more like a giant tendon than a muscle! But it IS a muscle, and because it has so much fascia in it…it is very prone to fascial adhesions (lumps or balls of soft tissue strands all stuck together), sometimes the size of grapefruits!
When these adhesions become too large or tight it can result in inflammation of the IT Band itself, as well as knee pain, hip pain and other issues. In order to create permanent change and release these fascial adhesions for good we need to PIN, stretch and release them through compression and movement that breaks them up. We want to give that ITB fascia the SPACE it needs to function well.
If you suffer from ITBS go get your foam roller right now, try this and see if you don’t feel immediate relief!
If you have a severe case of ITBS or if you’re a runner, you may want to add this to your weekly mobility and injury prevention arsenal. I like to use this before every run because it creates more “spring” and I not only feel like a better runner but a faster one.
Maybe you know what it’s like…you’re out there on a trail or path, flying like you always do when suddenly your knee gives out and a shot of stabbing pain nearly takes you to the ground. Weird. That’s never happened before. You’re able to finish your run and the pain stops when you do. So you keep stepping out your door to do this thing you love so much. But next time it’s worse. You rest a week and try again; and this time the pain starts right away instead of at mile 4. Some people complain about the pain of running, but not you…you thrive on it! The pain that will stop you from running is the pain you fear the most.
This post is dedicated to all you runners out there!
I know what it is like to be stopped from running due to pain (knee pain specifically). In fact, my knee pain stopped me from running for 8 YEARS. It wasn’t until I found the right kind of fascial release (and knowing what to target), that I was able to fix my knee pain. Now I can trail run and climb mountains pain-free (I even run DOWN mountains with zero pain!) My pain seemed to originate more in my calf, but I think the IT Band played a part as well, as it does for a lot of runners.
I recently got an email testimonial that I have to share. Her story is incredible and I think it will help some of you who are struggling with ITBS, or Iliotibial Band Syndrome.
I’m also going to share my “Ultimate IT Band Release” technique. If you want to skip straight to the technique video and tips, scroll down.
My name is Rachael, and I absolutely HAVE to share my little story with you, mainly because, it involves you.
I started running last year in April. I found a running group (Moms Run This Town) and that was all she wrote- I was off like a mad woman running my life away. For the first time, I found something I was good at. I started doing races and loved running even more. By September, I had already run 6 half marathons, and close to 700 miles, and had signed up to do my first full marathon at Big Sur the following April. I was really out of control. In October I ran The Rock N Roll half in San Jose, and a week later made a last minute decision to take someones bib for the Nike half; this turned out to be the worst decision I could have made as a still new runner. 3 days after Nike, I could barely walk. My knee pain was so bad, and stand-to- sit was killing me. My running was totally sidelined.
After I tried to run with a friend in November the pain was too much, and she recognized the symptoms from her own issue- ITBS. I was in denial, but saw a sports chiro to see if he could help. Of course he confirmed the ITBS diagnoses and had me coming to see him for ART therapy three times a week at $90 a pop. I did this for 5-6 weeks knowing my marathon training was starting in January. Eventually he ok’d me to run, but the pain came back. Next I went to see an orthopedic surgeon, and again I was told the IT band was super tight. He sent me to physical therapy, and again I spent hundreds of dollars. Meanwhile my training had started and I had to really modify my plan- by God, I was not going to miss my race! Week after week I went to PT and got no relief. Next we did cortisone treatments, they didn’t even help a little. I stretched, I rolled, I used a tens-unit, I iced, I did squats and lunges for my weak glutes and hips, I changed shoes, I got inserts, I read hundreds of articles on the internet….You name it I did it. Nothing helped, but I kept training anyways.
I ran my marathon, and I will never forget that experience. Both knees blew out at mile 22 and I had to walk the last 4 miles. However, Big Sur is the most beautiful race and I am glad I did it. When I got home, my ortho suggested PRP treatments and I figured, hell, why not. We did two of those. I took 4 months off and just barely started running again in late August. Much to my disappointment, the pain and the swelling in the IT band came back. I decided to give up on running, clearly nothing could heal this injury.
Then about 6-7 weeks ago, my friend from the running group posted one of your videos, not the IT band one, but what ever it was I watched it, which displayed links to your other videos in the corner. Then I saw it- the IT band foam rolling video by you. I figured I’d check it out and try it. I was well aware of the two HUGE knots in along the IT band, so when I saw your method it made sense, so I gave it a go. OMG- I writhed in pain, it hurt so bad, more than ART hurt- and that was painful. I tried your way again later that night, and then every day for the rest of the week. The knots became more movable- like I was able to massage them with my thumbs and get them to move around. I decided to go for a run, a simple 5k in the neighborhood it was pain free.. Hmm, weird. So I kept up your method after runs, once in the morning and once at night. I ran some more, no swelling, no pain- NOTHING. This week I really pushed my limits, I did some trail runs, on major hills in this area, I was expecting the worst the next morning on both days- but nothing happened.
Is it a coincidence? Did it heal on it’s own? How could something so simple fix this? How could your video change everything? Doctors and PT’s and chiropractors couldn’t fix it, how could this simple rolling technique do it? I am still in disbelief, I keep waiting for the pain to return, but I also keep rolling. The knots are still there, they are still big, but somehow it’s different.
So the point of all of this? From me to you- THANK YOU. For something so simple, for some video free on the internet that has given me the gift of running again! I am pain free and increasing my miles.. I am at a loss for words other than thank you. What ever you have here- you should sell it because quite frankly it works.
You will forever be my hero! Thank you so much for this gift!!
I can’t tell you how many times I hear this from new clients who believe the IT Band is at the root of all their problems, from knee pain to back pain.
Google “foam rolling” and you’ll see more videos for how to roll the IT band than any other muscle in the body. I see people in the gym every day foam rolling the crap out of their IT band the way it’s been traditionally taught and I want to yell: STOP!
The IT Band is NOT your enemy.
The main job of the IT band is to stabilize us from knee to hip (or hip to knee). It needs to have a high degree of tension (tightness) in the direction of knee to hip to do that job.
Notice the picture on the right: the IT band is white, whereas the other major muscles are shown in red. This isn’t a mistake. While all muscles have a lot of fascia holding them together, the IT band is special in that it is mostly made of connective tissue (fascia) and almost looks like a giant tendon or ligament rather than a muscle.
Don’t make the mistake of rolling your IT band out like pizza dough!
Foam rolling as it is traditionally taught targets muscles (not fascia), and the method is typically an attempt to force the muscle to change via manipulation from the outside.
To actually stretch fascia and effect change, we need to pin it in place and then get the tissue to change itself through movement.
Watch the second video (below) to learn how I roll the IT band by