When learning how to foam roll, what is the first area one is usually taught/shown how to roll? The IT band. The IT band is a tendon that originates on the outside of the upper hip, and inserts around the outside of the knee (just under the skin on the outside of the leg). What if I were to tell you that it may be more beneficial to roll the muscle group next to your IT band? The muscle group would be the quads, more specifically, the vastus lateralis (outside quad muscle). A large portion of this quad muscle lies underneath the IT band and can provide more relief than rolling directly on to the IT band. Many people do not realize this, but the IT band is not an actual muscle, but more tendon like. When rolling on the IT band, there is not much release of tension in this tissue, therefore the trick is to release tension of the surrounding musculature, such as the TFL and gluteus medius muscle. These muscle also tense the IT band at times. Being a more tendonous structure, the IT band can eventually become adhered or stuck to the vastus lateralis, TFL, and gluteus medius muscle.
So, if you are not getting relief rolling primarily the IT band, switch gears and begin to work the surrounding muscles. For my runners and cyclists out there, I am sure this a common issue that happens and/or continues to reoccur. To be proactive so these tissues don’t adhere to each other, create tension, and cause injury, foam rolling should be a part of your daily regimen to be healthy, active and pain free.
To better learn how to foam roll, but sure to check out our videos located under the Self Care Tab on our website: