You may have heard of the IT, or Iliotibial Band (also called the Iliotibial Tract). So, what is it?
The IT band is a thick band of connective tissue that runs along the outside of the leg from the hip all the way down to just below the knee joint. It primarily acts as a stabilizer for the knee.
Overuse, such as with running, can cause the IT Band to become irritated and cause pain, usually around the outside of the knee. If pain does develop, there are a few things that can be done to help:
1) Rest- or easing up on your training schedule can help.
2) Massage Therapy- RMTs are trained in myofascial release (fascia is another name for connective tissue) and can use these techniques to effectively loosen adhesions and make the IT Band more ‘flexible’.
3) Stretching- The IT band is not a muscle, so it can’t be stretched in the same way a muscle can- the tissue is non contractile. However, there are ways to ‘stretch’ the IT Band- ask your RMT for a demonstration.