IT Band Syndrome

     I got this awesome (and incredibly relevant) topic choice from one of my FB followers!  With this amazing cool(er) weather, I've starting to run again, which means  - you guessed it! -  lots of foam rolling and stretching!  Unfortunately, that doesn't always cut it.  I have several of cyclist and runner clients who have chronically tight legs and hips, but more specifically, TIGHT I.T. BANDS!

The Iliotibial Tract (IT Band) is a fibrous strip of thick connective tissue (a reinforcement of the fascia latte: the deep connective tissue of the thigh).  It originates at the iliac crest (the curve of your hip bone) and runs aloing the lateral side of the thigh, insterting at the top of the tibia (the shin).  It encases the Tensor Fascia Latte (TFL) and also recieves most of the gluteus maximus tendon.

Actions: stabilizes the knee in extension and in partial flexion (i.e. walking/running, squatting, cycling, etc.)

Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS or ITBFS, for iliotibial band friction syndrome, Runner's Knee) is the chronic inflammation of the IT Band; it is one of the most common causes of lateral knee pain.

There are several different things that can cause ITBS, such as overuse, leg length discrepancies, and improper form when exercising/running. 

So what can we do for ITBS?
As far as massage goes, trigger point and myofascial techniques would be the way to go to alleviate some tightness throughout the entire thigh, with a focus on the knee attachment points of the IT Band and hamstring tendons (just behind the IT Band insertion point).  The TFL and the Gluteus Maximus would be the next section to address because of their direct relation to the IT Band.

Your Homework:
For prevention and management, stretching and proper strengthening exercises for the lateral thigh will take strain off the IT Band.

For more exercises/stretches for the legs, follow me on Pinterest.

And if you have a flair up, always R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate).  
Really.  Do NOT power through it.  

Take care of yourself.  :)