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IT Band Syndrome is a common injury that has baffled many runners the world over. It’s a condition that can hide it’s true source of pain. In recent years, many athletes, runners, gym goers etc have have been using foam rollers as an amazing treatment for IT band syndrome. So in this article, I will be going over what we believe to be the best foam rollers for IT Band Syndrome.
ITBS as it is also known can present itself in 3 different painful areas. The main problem area is in the knee. The other areas can be up near the hip or pain in the side of the leg.
Quick Links To Info On This Page
- 1 How The Ilotibial (IT) Band Causes Pain In The Knees
- 2 Foam Roller Exercises For The IT Band
- 3 Foam Rolling The It Band
- 4 The Best Foam Roller For IT Band Syndrome
- 5 The Melt Method Foam Roller Alternative
- 6 Tips For Running With It Band Syndrome
How The Ilotibial (IT) Band Causes Pain In The Knees
It’s not unheard of for people to people struggling with a painful knee and unable to find the right treatment for it. Unless you are a runner and are aware of the IT band, most regular people wouldn’t have a clue. So assuming the knee pain stems from the knee is not unreasonable.
However, there’s a large muscle known as the TFL (Tensor fasciae latae) which is located on the outer side of the leg up near the hip. This TFL muscle can attach to the IT Band. When it does this it yanks the IT band, which is connected to the knees. This causes sometimes unbearable pain in the knees. So it’s easy to see how regular folks are not even aware of the muscle up near the hips causing tremendous knee pain.
Foam Roller Exercises For The IT Band
There’s two important aspects to essentially solving IT Band problems. As I previously mentioned, the TFL muscle attaches itself to the IT Band. So this is one of the two main areas of interest for us. In order to solve IT Band Syndrome, you need to strengthen and loosen two muscles.
So to start, strengthening begins with the Gluteus Medius (Located on the outside of the pelvis). This muscle and the TFL are the two muscles that allow us to kick our legs out to the side. So when one of these muscles is not pulling its weight so to speak, the other muscle has to adopt a lot more stress in order to keep the body doing what it does. The Glueteus Medius muscle holds the pelvis and keeps us from falling over, and when it gets weak, the TFL (Hip muscle) has to take the grunt of stress. This then pulls on the IT Band causing all sorts of grief. So by strengthening these two muscles you are helping to prevent IT Band Syndrome.
To strengthen these muscles it’s quite simple. Get a tension band and strap it around your ankles. Now move one leg out to the side and bring the other leg in. Now reverse and swap legs so that the leg coming in is now going out. Continuously do this to build up these two important muscles.
Foam Rolling The It Band
Now that we know that these two muscles need to be strengthened in order to prevent IT Band Syndrome, now its time to look at relieving the pressure on the TFL. Rolling along a foam roller all the way up the TFL, IT Band all the way down to the knee. Now adjust the position slightly to maximize foam rolling the Gluteus Medius muscles.
You may encounter trigger points while rolling. So do short little back and forward rolls over these tight constricted spots. Do this for 30 seconds to one minute maximum. What foam roller to use on your IT Band will vary from person to person. If this is your first time using a foam roller, I highly encourage you to check out the range for beginners first. You don’t want to be doing more harm than good. Otherwise, stay on this page as we present the best foam rollers for IT Band Syndrome.
The Best Foam Roller For IT Band Syndrome
ProSource Sports Medicine Review
The reason I like the ProSource Sports Medicine foam roller is becasue of it’s textured outer surface. Unlike smooth rounded foam rollers, this beast can get into deeper trigger points tan that of a smooth version. Yes, there are a few decent textured foam rollers on the market in 2017. So what makes this one so special?.
For starters the internal core is solid. It’s filled with EVA foam to increase the lifespan of the roller. Being a solid core like this prevents the all to common cracking that occurs with hollow versions.
Some other rollers have pointy nibs that cover the entire surface. While this does give deep tissue massage a new meaning, it’s not much in the way of variation. The ProSource has two types of textured surfaces. Half the surface is pointy nibs while the other half is longer bar like buttons. What this does is really encourages Myofascial release while still offering a deep tissue massage on those big leg muscles like the IT Band.
The ProSource comes in various colors and 2 different sizes. A 13″ and a 24″ long roller. For working the IT Band, I would suggest going with the 24″ roller to give your leg more width to roll when you start to twist a little to reach other muscles.
How Hard Is This Foam Roller?
Not ideal for beginners as it is quite firm. It’s firm becasue it is a textured style of roller and meant to get in deep into the larger muscle groups to relieve tripper points/knots. After some use with a softer roller (See below), I would then recommend getting to know this ProSource a little better.
The Melt Method Foam Roller Alternative
OPTP Soft Density Pro Roller Review
Available in pink or blue marble, this roller by OPTP is a slightly softer roller ideal for beginners looking to foam roll. As it is not as dense as the black foam rollers (Black is generally the highest density rated roller), it won’t hurt your body when performing the IT band exercises.
While some more experiences folks prefer to torture their muscles with the deep tissue black foam rollers, I don’t recommend jumping straight into one. This OPTP however, is a nice softer foam roller to get started with. In fact, many people use this roller as an alternative to the popular ‘Melt Method’ foam rolling technique.
Some people complaint that the ‘Melt’ roller is too soft and that it feels like nothing is happening. This is why this OPTP is a good alternative. It’s soft, but you most definitely feel it relieving connective tissue and increasing the blood flow to the IT band areas. The Melt Method is a technique where therapist Sue Hitzmann has created a foam roller to help us as we age by rejuvenating the connective tissues that make our bodies feel sore and tight. The feeling we get when we first wake up. So this OPTP is great for overall body rejuvenation as well as for IT Band Syndrome.
Made out of closed cell EVA foam, this roller is built to last. It not only looks like quality, it actually is. The foam cells are cross linked to create a stronger more durable roller. Being 6 inches in diameter makes it the ideal width for rolling out the IT Band and 36 inches in length gives plenty of sliding room.
At the end of the day, most people cant afford a masseuse weekly or even monthly to get out bodies feeling great again. This is why I find the OPTP Pro Foam Roller to be an invaluable massage tool for tight fascia connective tissue. By using this roller once, I believe you can get quick results which will prove a lifetime of rewards. Great value for money when you think about how long this roller is going to last and how much relief and movement it can offer. Highly recommended.
Tips For Running With It Band Syndrome
Whether you are a runner or a treadmill runner, the pain symptoms are always the same. Typically when running with It band syndrome the pain is on the outside of the knee and can sometimes shoot up the. backside of the thigh towards the hip. This are the most common pain felt from people with this syndrome whilst running. To help stubborn runners that want to continue running through injury, here are some tips to get through it band syndrome while running.
- Scale back your running mileage if you choose not to take a break from running.
- Use A Foam Roller For Runners to loosen tight constricted muscles.
- Avoid running with a cross over running gate or a narrow step width. By running with your feet landing in one straight line (Both feet hit this one line), this can cause excessive pressure on the fat pad in the knee just below the It band. Widen your step width while running may be a great way to relieve a lot of pressure form the knee and lower leg.
- Avoid slanted/inclined surfaces and track running in the same direction as this can apply unwanted pressure to the fat pad above the knee.
- Avoid too much downhill running as this action can exhaust the quads which therefor can impact the knees greatly.
How You Should Stretch And Foam Roll Your IT Band