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A tight ITB can cause knee pain, hip problems, patella tracking issues and, in some cases, lead to ITB Syndrome. So many of us try to stretch it out by foam rolling. We know it hurts! But does it work?
The ITB, or Illiotibial band is the thick connective tissue (fascia) that runs from the front of your hip all the way down the outside of your thigh and attaches to the bottom of the femur and the kneecap. Being connective tissue, it does not have any elastic properties and has little blood supply.
This means that foam rolling, stretching and massage directly to the tendon is going to do very little to influence it's length.
A better alternative is to treat the muscles that the ITB attaches to. These include the quads, hamstrings, tensor fascia latae (TFL) and gluteal muscles through foam rolling, trigger point therapy and massage techniques.
These muscles are vascular rich and elastic, therefore they do respond to treatment. Relieving tension, improving hip biomechanics and strengthening these muscle groups decreases the stress that is placed on the ITB, causing tightness and pain.
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