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Iliotibial Band Syndrome

Updated: Oct 10, 2023

Have you been told or think you have Iliotibial Band (ITB) Syndrome?

If so you're most likely foam rolling out your ITB band because its "tight" and rolling might help loosen it and give you some pain relief.


The original theory of ITB syndrome was that it was a friction caused injury, where the ITB would constantly rub against structures of your knees, and if it was tight it would do this with even more force. But recently we know this isn't the exact cause of this pain, instead it is a compression injury. Meaning that, the ITB compresses on those structures and causes pain.


But what difference does that mean?


This means that when we roll out our ITB we are compressing it even further than it already is and causes more irritation on these structures. Ultimately, leading to more pain and less functional outcomes.


We also know that we cant actually 'loosen' the ITB by foam rolling it, studies have shown that foam rolling the ITB has no changes to passive range of motion or stiffness after an acute episode of foam rolling (and even stretching).


So if we cant Foam roll what can we do?


Instead of foam rolling our ITB we can roll out our glute muscles to give ourselves some temporary pain relief.


Our Physiotherapists can provide you with an assessment, help you understand why the ITB band is causing you grief and can provide you with an individualised plan to help you reach your personal goals pain free!


References


Fairclough, J., Hayashi, K., Toumi, H., Lyons, K., Bydder, G., Phillips, N., ... & Benjamin, M. (2007). Is iliotibial band syndrome really a friction syndrome?. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, 10(2), 74-76.


Hall, M., & Smith, J. C. (2018). The effects of an acute bout of foam rolling on hip range of motion on different tissues. International journal of sports physical therapy, 13(4), 652.


Pepper, T. M., Brismée, J. M., Sizer Jr, P. S., Kapila, J., Seeber, G. H., Huggins, C. A., & Hooper, T. L. (2021). The Immediate Effects of Foam Rolling and Stretching on Iliotibial Band Stiffness: A Randomized Controlled Trial. International journal of sports physical therapy, 16(3), 651.

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