Roll your ITB

Iliotibial Band

Most people who have had ITB problems have thought of the idiocy of its function and only want it removed from their bodies. We do not give credit to this thickened piece of tissue, which keeps us from tripping over our own feet. Literally if that band of thick fascia wasn't on the side of our leg our knee would 'run into' the other knee. You might have actually experienced a mild version of this while running (especially trails) where your foot leaves a mud mark on your opposite calf. This means you have weak glutes, and that your ITB is protecting you from further damage. Bottom line : if you are rolling your ITB you HAVE TO strengthen your gluteus med, if you don't your ITB problem WILL keep coming back. 

How to roll your ITB :

You will need a foam roller. Start by lying on your side, support your body weight with your legs and arms, and lie with a foam roller under the upper, outside portion of your thigh - this is the proximal portion of your IT band.

Use your legs and arms to pull you the length of your IT band, traveling right down to just above your knee joint. As you get closer to your knee, you may feel more tenderness, so be prepared to use your arms and legs to ease pressure off of your IT band.

Roll back towards the upper portion of your IT band, and continue back and forth in this fashion for a few passes.

Maintain steady breathing, and feel free to linger and increase pressure whenever you come to points that are especially taut or tender.

Switch from leg to leg between sets to ensure that both of your IT bands are stripped in this fashion. (more description here)

Quick Video showing where the arms and legs should be to support you properly while rolling you ITB

More info about the iliotibial band

The iliotibial tract or iliotibial band (ITB) is a longitudinal fibrous reinforcement of the tensor fasciae latae muscle. The ITB increases knee stability throughout, its associated muscles movements i.e:  flexion, abduction, and medially rotate the hip. In addition, the ITB contributes to the lateral stabilization of the knee. During knee extension the ITB moves anterior, while knee flexion moves the ITB posterior because of it’s location ( on top of Vastus lateralus, one of the quadriceps muscles).

 Origine: anterolateral iliac tubercle portion of the external lip of the iliac crest and

 Insertion: the lateral condyle of the tibia at Gerdy's tubercle. .

The gluteus maximus muscle and the tensor fasciae latae insert upon the band.

Clinical significance

It stabilizes the knee both in extension and in partial flexion, and is therefore used constantly during walking and running.

Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS or ITBFS, for Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome) is a common thigh injury generally associated with running. It can also be caused by cycling or hiking.

It is usually developed by people who suddenly increase their level of activity, such as runners who increase their mileage. Other risk factors for ITBS include gait abnormalities such as over pronation, leg length discrepancies, or bow-leggedness. ITB Syndrome is an overuse condition of the distal ITB near the lateral femoral condyle and at Gerdy's tubercle. The most vulnerable range of knee flexion for this condition is at 30-40 degrees; this is where the ITB crosses the lateral femoral condyle. (more info here)


Lysanne Lavigne, R.M.T.

Prevent. Perform. Recover.

Equinox Health Clinic