The IT band runs along the outside of your thigh from the top of your hip to the knee. It’s essentially the thick part of the fascia that wraps around the thigh, and the band is on the side. Keep in mind that the IT band is not a muscle – and can’t be lengthened like other muscles that you might use your foam roller on.
Since your IT band does not change length, it can’t really be considered “tight” as some therapists or your friends might state. So then you might ask, why would I foam roll my IT band? And that’s a really great question. The IT band is connected to several other muscles that may be the root cause of your issues, so I would recommend looking into rolling your hamstrings, glutes, and quads and reassessing your IT band pain or issues. Greg Lehman says there may be some benefits from foam rolling the IT band, but he’s not aware of them. There could be some fascia or adhesions underneath the IT band, but it might be difficult to stimulate them properly as they are located under a layer of tissue.
If you’ve rolled out your other muscles that are connected to the IT band (hamstrings, glutes, quads) and still would like to try relieving the area, check out this guide below on foam rolling it band technique. Go slowly and if it is painful don’t continue, see if this foam rolling exercise can work for you.
Foam rolling IT band technique
- On your side, position the foam roller just under one hip.
- Move your body forward so that the foam roller moves down the outside of your thigh.
- Your range of motion for this exercise is from your hip to your knee.
- If you reach any knots or adhesions while rolling, hold at that point for around 30 seconds and continue until you have covered all areas.
Like any exercise, you need to assess your tolerance, and since there is no medical information that state foam rolling the IT band has benefits, try this exercise out with caution and only proceed if you find personal benefit. The IT band is a fixed length and is often suspected of causing problems due to the larger muscles that it’s attached to.