Welcome to Movement Mondays, I’m Dr. Brandon here at Body Mechanix in Tallahassee and this is Episode 1, A Better Way, The IT band. There are few areas more tender to treat in athletes, gymnasts, runners, or weekend warriors than the IT band or that area that is between the side of your knee and the outside of your hip. So, why so tender? In short, the nerves that serve that area, specifically in the middle third seem to be especially sensitive and when you roll it with all your weight on it, they fire off an alarm telling your brain that all is not well. Interestingly enough, this then also makes that area feel tight. That’s why we’ll start by “softening” the area with a foam roller but in this case, we are going to make it as pain free as possible because we’re treating the nerves and their tender spots and not “stretching” fascia
I don’t know about you, but since it takes about 2000 pounds of force to deform fascia, I don’t think I’m going to do that with a foam roller, so here’s a better way.(1)
So, when looking at the IT Band it is so wide, we’re going to divide it into 3, a back portion, middle portion, and front portion. Our set-up-Post up on your elbow toe pointing at the ceiling using your other leg to adjust the pressure, go up and down the length taking some extra time around the sore spots. Now rotate until you are on the middle third. You’re not going to eliminate those sore spots the first time out, we’re only going to spend about 30 seconds to a minute on each area then finish with front third and repeat on opposite leg.
Now, we’re going to take that IT band into its new motion with a strap and pull across our body, again this should be pain free and only feel a gentle stretch, not holding, we’re going to move into this position 10 times with a slow exhale during the motion. Now to load the IT band because all we’ve done to this point is work on removing your body’s protectiveness of this area, it needs a loading strategy to keep our gains and today we’re working on a reach combination
So, for this, we’re going to pretend that we are on an upside down Y, we’re going to reach and tap our toe at the top, the back corner, and then the opposite corner. Not only does this load your IT band, it also helps to improve poor control at the hip which can show up not only as IT band stiffness or pain,but also knee, foot, and low back pain as well as balance difficulties.