If you’ve ever had trouble with you IT band, chances are you’ve been told to foam roll, foam roll, foam roll. And maybe stretch.

 

That’s what I was told too: by other runners, by my physical therapist, by nearly everyone I encounter that knew what an IT band was.

And I listened: I foam rolled the crap out of my leg. And then it got worse. The more I foam rolled, the worse it felt. {And not in that foam rolling “this hurts so good way”.}

It wasn’t until I found my chiropractor that someone finally believed me that the foam rolling and stretching wasn’t helping. See, my IT band was never tight. No stretch would target it, and foam rolling was just beating it up.

Instead of all over foam rolling, my chiropractor focused on specific points of tissue along my IT band that were bothering me. He said the key was to get those spots loose before anything else would help.

New research just came out that shows maybe this guy knew what he was talking about. {I had no doubt he did.} They’ve now shown that foam rolling isn’t a productive treatment method. Instead you need to target several trigger points that are related to the IT band, specifically the tensor fascia lata {TFL} and gluteus maximus.

tensor fascia lata trigger point

Trigger points are essential knots of tissue. Targeting these areas with massage, whether it’s a tennis ball, a foam roller, the stick, or someone hands, is what will make a difference in the recovery of the IT band. {Trigger point therapy.} Everyone has different trigger points, but the TFL and glute max trigger points are extremely common when it comes to the IT band.

The TFL is the tissue on the upper outside portion of your hip- if you’ve foam rolled, you’ve likely screamed bloody murder here once or twice.

tensor fascia latae foam rolling

The glute is, well, your butt. That doesn’t usually feel too good either. But working through these areas can make a huge difference in your treatment.

gluteus maximus trigger points

So while generic, non targeted foam rolling isn’t the answer, targeting specific trigger points can make all the difference. The reason foam rolling works for some people? You’re probably hitting those trigger points. For other people, the trigger points are too deep into the tissue to get it with a swipe of the foam roller.

So just a reminder, the answer isn’t always where you feel the pain.

 

 

PS I’m talking glucose tests over on tiny sneakers