Recall the last few blogs have been focused on evaluation and treatment of the hip. Last week, Dr. Nate talked about the importance of hip flexor mobility. This week, our hip mobility series will be spot lighting the iliotibial band or IT Band. This thick band of dense, irregular connective tissue is known well, and feared by all who own a foam roller. It is found on the side of the hip, and continues down along the side of the thigh, just past the knee. When the IT Band becomes too tight, either the hip or knee can fall victim to its wrath.
A common injury that all too often plagues runners, cyclists and hikers is Iliotibial Band Syndrome. This causes pain on the outside of the knee from the overly tight IT Band being repetitively flexed. Icing, stretching, and soft tissue mobilization will be the quickest way to resolve this injury. But why did it occur in the first place? Typically, the problem results from a muscle imbalance or dysfunctional motor pattern. In this example, the IT band could be over worked because the gluteus medius muscle is not firing correctly. Without proper activation of the glute the IT Band is forced to take over. This is like taking a screw out of a board with a knife instead of a screwdriver. It can be done, but it is harder than it has to be. Combining repetitive movement and the wrong muscle for the job is the recipe for injury. So let’s look at how we go about finding and correcting a tight IT Band.
Remember looking at the Modified Thomas Test in Hip Mobility: Evaluation. One of the muscle dysfunctions this test could screen out is IT Band tightness. If we look at the image below, we notice the leg has drifted out to the side, which is suggestive of an overly tight IT Band.
A quick and easy way to start stretching out the IT Band is shown below
Tips for an effective stretch:
-Lay flat on your back
-Keep your pelvis locked to the floor
-Raise the stretching leg up and pull it across your body
If you are experiencing IT Band tightness, hopefully this simple stretch gives you some relief. But if your injury is keeping you from your favorite activity, and stretching just isn’t cutting it give Team Chiropractic and Rehabilitation a call.
Disclaimer: Remember that this series should only serve as an adjunct to your healthcare professionals examination. We are are not your doctors and have not examined you; therefore, the above should not serve as medical advice. Please do not hold us liable for taking our advice as we have just advised you not to. If you have any questions or concerns regarding low back pain or hip pain, feel free to contact Team Chiropractic and Rehabilitation, your Johnston Chiropractor, and we would be happy to assist you.