I am Your IT Band
Oh yeah, you know me, especially if you are pretty active. Runners and cyclists usually know me, but most the time we’re not very good friends.
I am tough and well connected. I like to keep things under control and monitor all the action, so treat me nice. If you just rub the outside of your thigh you’ll find me. If that is uncomfortable, then you haven’t been taking care of me.
Let me tell you a little about myself…
I am not muscle, but a tough fibrous fascia. I am that thicker part of the thin tissue that encircles all the muscles of the thigh. A good friend of mine, the Tensor Fascia Latae is a small muscle that is attached on top of me and to the hip crest. We are very close. From there, I am on my own, down the outside of the thigh and connect to just under your knee cap on the outside of the calf. You know it by the tenderness you usually find when you rub right there.
I like running, walks on the beach, cycling, hiking and just about anything that is active. I’m not a big fan of just sitting around and if any of my surrounding neighborhood pals get out of balance, I can be a real pain. I told you about my friend, Tensor Fascia Latae, but there is also Gluteaus Maximus, who can be an ass sometimes, but we all love him. I am neighbors with Vastus Lateralis and we work together too.
I’m the one that gets everybody working together. I help these guys with lifting your leg away from the body (abduction), rotating your leg, flex your thighs and stabilize your knees. In other words, if I’m not happy, you’re not happy and I can make your life miserable.
I’m usually easy going, but you’ll know I’m unhappy if you feel pain on the inside of you knee, tightness on the outside of your leg or discomfort with extending your leg forward or sideways.
A good way to keep me happy is to stretch using the long muscles of the body and yoga. Using a foam roller only smashes me into my buddy, Vastus Lateralis and doesn’t really do much good, so don’t use a foam roller on me. A good massage using fascia release will work too.
So the next time you go for a walk, run, bike ride or any activity where you use your legs, do some stretching AFTER and you’ll keep the whole body, not to mention the muscles in the leg neighborhood, much happier!