Stop stretching your IT band
Take a step forward and get to know your Iliotibial Band a little better
Maybe you notice it while you are out for a walk or while you are sitting down at the table; an aching feeling from your knees to your thigh. Your first instinct may be to stretch it out – but stop! Let’s take a closer look at the culprit.
What is the IT Band
The Iliotibial Band, or IT Band, is a thick cord of collagen tissue that runs along the outside of the thigh, from the hip to the knee. Those are some big muscles attached to this tissue, making the IT Band pretty instrumental in how we move forward and backward. The IT Band is also responsible for stopping us from falling over. Want to see your IT Band at work? Stand on one leg. The IT Band is what is helping you from falling over. Or maybe you did fall over, in which case, sorry, but also, this proves why we need to focus on what makes your IT Band tick.
Why you should not stretch it or use a foam roller
Your thighs are sore and feeling heavy, so you go to what you know – stretch it out, or take a foam roller to that big tissue collection we have just learned about. You actually need to stop doing this. Although it may feel good at the moment, it will only feel good for a short amount of time, and that pain will come right back. The IT Band is actually pretty vulnerable to friction, and all that stretching and foam rolling isn’t breaking any knots up- it is aggravating things.
What you can do instead
We’re not going to tell you what not to do, without helping out with what you can do. Our first instinct is often to attempt fixing the immediate problem; we feel pain, so we tend to the painful area. To properly address IT Band issues, it is all about getting to the root of the problem. Increase your awareness of your body. Don’t get intimidated by the big picture of it all, you don’t need to fix everything all at once. Start paying attention to your body and how it moves, part by part. Start by wiggling your toes and work your way up. Notice something acting a little funny? Work on that area and go from there. Every part of ourselves is connected to and affects the other. Just remember that we often refer to this all as a journey for a reason, there isn’t a quick fix, but a navigation of how your body works and how your relationship with your body facilitates this work.
Want to address your IT Band? Check out Splitsville, Flex Express, or Full on Flex!