IT Band Stretches And Relieving Knee Pain
The Iliotibial Band (IT band) is a muscle running from the hips past the knee located on the outside part of the thigh. The IT band is a muscle which works with the quad and hamstring to stabilize and move the knee. When the IT band becomes tight knee pain and tightness will occur.
The IT band is an important muscle for athletes of all sports and requires attention during warmups and stretches. If the IT band is tight the resulting knee pain and discomfort can sideline an athlete for a significant amount of time. Athletes can avoid injuries and increase athletic performance by utilizing IT band stretches and proper foam rolling.
Athletes must be sure the entire body is ready to perform at a high level when preparing for physical activities. For sports involving a high amount of running, jumping, or slowing down then quickly accelerating again, athletes should properly prepare all of their leg muscles. For example, a soccer player should perform IT band stretches since the IT band is critical for knee stability and movements. However, the quads, glutes, calves, and hamstrings should also be stretched. These stretches will allow all of the muscles of the leg to perform at their highest ability during training or competition.
Inflammation, Repair, Remodeling | Recovery Foam Roller
Athletes need to increase the supply of blood and nutrients to the desired muscle or muscle group to aid in the recovery and remodeling processes. Foam rolling the IT band is the best way to aid the body in its natural healing process.
When an injury is first sustained to the muscle the body goes into the inflammation phase of healing, usually associated with discomfort and swelling. This swelling is the increased blood flow to that particular muscle in an effort to begin the healing process. Once the inflammatory stage has ended the repair stage begins. This stage usually begins around 48 hours after the injury. During this stage of the healing process the body attempts to regenerate damaged tissue cells and begins to repair the damage done to the muscle. During the final remodeling phase the muscle attempts to regain strength in the damaged muscles.
Foam rolling the IT Band with the Recovery Foam Roller is particularly important to the entire recovery process. Increased blood flow is the main channel for the body to repair damaged muscle tissue and receive the nutrients for repair and remodeling. Since utilizing the Recovery Foam Roller increases blood flow the treated parts of the body it is essential that foam rolling with the Recovery Foam Roller take place daily.
This increases blood flow not only aids in the recovery process but added nutrients to the muscles is the best way to strengthen the muscle fibers. Therefore helping to increase mobility and avoid injuries altogether.
Foam Rolling The IT Band
When using the Recovery Foam Roller to perform the IT band stretch athletes will need to ensure they are using proper body positioning. When using the Recovery Foam Roller to foam roll the IT band athletes will need to position themselves so the Recovery Foam Roller is on the outside part of the thigh, just below the hip. Athletes can take two different positions with their legs when performing the IT band stretch.
First, for maximum pressure athletes can pivot and apply pressure from their hip and keep both feet and legs airborne while foam rolling the IT bands. During this method the arms and hands will be used to control the up and down movements while foam rolling the IT bands with the Recovery Foam Roller. Second, for more control and less pressure athletes can throw the opposite leg of the one being stretched over the other leg. Placing one foot in front of the other allows the opposite leg to be utilized to aid in pushing the body up and down in a controlled manner throughout the IT band stretch.
Athletes will begin the IT band stretch once the body is properly positioned. Begin by applying pressure to the outside of the thigh as athletes use the Recovery Foam Roller to foam roll from just below the hip to just above the knee. If any discomfort is felt while using the Recovery Foam Roller athletes should stop and hold the Recovery Foam Roller in that spot for 20-30 seconds. Small tight rolls with the Recovery Foam Roller should be performed on the area surrounding the problem area if the discomfort is to great.
The IT band is a very long muscle so ensure you stretch the entire muscle. This means as athletes roll down the IT band, different angles must be utilized to ensure all parts of the IT band are properly stretched and prepared for physical activity.
Preparing The Body After Foam Rolling IT Bands
The entire body works as a single unit. If an injury occurs in one area of the body it will generally begin to affect many of the surrounding areas. This turns a simple sore hamstring into a potential knee injury or a sore shoulder into a serious elbow injury. These injuries are generally easy to recover from (if proper action is taken immediately) and even easier to prevent with the Recovery Foam Roller.
Athletes will always want to prepare the entire body for competition previously, the importance of foam rolling IT bands was discussed, but what other muscles should also be stretched with the IT band? Along with foam rolling the IT bands athletes need to use the Recovery Foam Roller on the glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves to aid in the movement of the hips and knees. Along with the IT band, by properly stretching these muscles in the lower body, athletes will have taken the steps to avoid injuries and improve athletic performance.
Muscles of the upper body must also be properly prepared for physical competition. In order for the body to produce maximum speed, quick change of direction, or a vertical jump the upper and lower extremities of the body must produce a high amount of force.
Although the upper body is not commonly associated with running and jumping it does play a pivotal roll is providing optimal force production. Many times people will hear about a runner or sprinter getting a pinch in their neck or experiencing shoulder pain. This is due to the explosive movements created by the upper body. For this reason athletes performing activities with rapid speed changes, vertical jumping, or quick change of direction should utilize the Rejuvenate Stretching Sequence to learn how to stretch, avoid injuries, and help prepare the entire body for peak physical performance.