What are IT Band Issues? And are active stretches better?

I hear a lot about how the IT band is too tight, and we need to foam roll it. This is not the case. Foam rolling is great for recovery/post-workout routines to move lactic acid and other waste out of the leg muscles. However, it's not the right thing for IT band issues.

The ilium, femur, and tibia/lower leg position are not in the right place. More often than not, the hip or the ilium will move backward or forward. When the ilium moves, it doesn't just go forward or backward it rocks in toward the midline or away from it. This will then make the femur rotate, either in or out.

All leg muscles are attached to the femur; if that bone rotates, it takes all the tissue with it, including the IT band. You can foam roll it all you want, but it won't fix that. However, this rotation will increase waste accumulation in the muscles of the femur, thus causing pain, weakness, knots, burning, and fatigue.

Foam rolling moves these chemicals out but does nothing to stop the problem, so it keeps coming back. Work on the tone of the hip flexor and the hamstring to rebalance and reposition the ilium; these issues should start to calm down. You can get adjusted, and it will help a lot.

However, it would be best if you focused on the hip flexor, iliopsoas, more often than not because it is the dominant flexor in this equation. Also, remember that active motion, not stretches are best for flexors.

So go into slow fluid motions that put pressure on the hip flexors and then take it slowly off. The bending backward part of the bend over and touch your toes exercise helps a lot here.

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Dr. Matt Chalmers

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only. Before taking any action based on this information you should first consult with your physician or health care provider. This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions regarding a medical condition, your health, or wellness.

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