Your iliotibial band (ITB) is a band made up of connective tissue (fascia and tendon) that runs from the side of your hip down to just below your knee (highlighted in yellow). It is often a site of pain, that can be sore to touch or create pain on the lateral side of your knee. 

A study completed by Chaudhry et al. (2008) investigated how much pressure would be needed to effect change in fascia structures such as the ITB. Interestingly they found that you would need 900kg of pressure to make 1% change to the ITB. So, what does this mean? It means that you cannot stretch the ITB. However, all hope is not lost if you have pain in this area, you just need to change your approach.

Instead of trying to stretch the ITB, you need to release the muscles that attach to it. The ITB attaches to a muscle called the tensor fascia latae (TFL) and your gluteal muscles. We recommend getting a single trigger ball, lying down on your side, pop the trigger ball in front of your hip and roll onto it. You will know when you are on the right spot. If this is too painful, you can also do it up against a wall.

By releasing the muscles that attach to the ITB, we are taking the pressure off it and its insertion down near the knee where people often have problems. You can also release through your glutes and ultimately you need to be strengthening your any weaknesses in your hip to address the cause of what is likely a tight TFL. Stay tuned for more information which will help you do this or see a local physiotherapist for individualised guidance.

July 11, 2022 — Jayde Williams