account My cart 0
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Is Foam Rolling Your IT Band Not Helping?

sandbag fitness equipment

Jessica Bento, Physical Therapist (Creator DVRT Restoration Certification, DVRT Rx Shoulder, Knees, Pelvic Control, & Gait Courses)

core stability

Have you ever found that foam rolling just doesn’t always do the trick? Don’t get me wrong, I love my foam roller. I roll my back, shoulder, legs…you name it! It just feels good to do so, but often times it’s rather short lived and doesn’t really last too long when it comes to pain relief, soreness, or tightness. 

This happens to be the case when it comes to the IT band, this area tends to be one area in particular that everyone always tells your roll out or to stretch if you experience tightness or discomfort in the area. Heck, even as a physical therapist, I told people to grab a foam roll and get to town on that IT bad and then tons of stretches…manual, active, dynamic; you name it. But my patients always seemed to come back with complaints regarding their IT band.

What is the IT band you ask? Good question! Well, its connective tissue that runs along the side of your leg. It helps to extend, abduct and rotate the hip…so its pretty useful. It also helps to stabilize the leg. 

it band

Also for clarification, I am not saying stretching or foam rolling is bad, those are things can that can make you feel good. What I am saying is IT band tightness or discomfort can be a symptom of a bigger issue. Like we have always said, the victims tend to scream louder than the criminals. Meaning that IT band discomfort can be coming from somewhere else. 

IT band discomfort usually is more of a strength and stability issue at the hips, pelvic and trunk. So all the stretching and foam rolling will not help a strength or stability issue. Strength and stability work is what will help. 

So what do I mean? Well, often times I would get runners in the clinic that complained about IT band soreness, in fact it’s quite common in runners, whether its the athlete or just the weekend runner like most people tend to be. It just wasn’t always runners, it was often a complaint of a lot of patients of mine but for the sake of the article I cite we can look at runners. 

In the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine they found the below to be true of IT band syndrome.

“Long distance runners with ITBS have weaker hip abduction strength in the affected leg compared with their unaffected leg and unaffected long-distance runners. Additionally, symptom improvement with a successful return to the pre-injury training program parallels improvement in hip abductor strength.”

What they found was that it was a weakness in their hips that lead to the pain in the IT band, which make sense. Everything is connected so if we have weakness at the hips then the that lack of strength is going to cause increased forces to occur down the leg, whether that is IT band issues, knee issues, and so forth. 

Regardless if you are runner if you are experiencing soreness of the IT band it might help to focus on strength and stability of the hips, pelvis, and core. Like the below: 

Core stability as seen in the examples of below is a great starting point as well. Especially when you look at lateral stability of the body. That is why understanding the demands that are placed on our body during our movement is so helpful in directing us to the best solutions. We hope that is what you get out of the DVRT ideas that we share in all these posts!

Don’t miss getting Jessica’s “Better Backs, Knees, & Shoulders” 2.0 program along with a regular and xl mini band for FREE when you invest in our Core Ultimate Sandbag. Just use code “core” HERE