The IT band is extremely strong so the purpose of foam rolling is not to stretch the IT band as it is not not really possible to change the tension of the IT band using a foam roller. The purpose of foam rolling the IT band is to massage and loosen tissue. It is also thought that foam rolling may be able to break down knots, scarring, or bad adhesions between the quad muscle and the IT band. Start easy if you are not used to foam rolling as doing it in a way that is painful may result in further injury. It also takes a number of days to get the hang of it so that it is comfortable and effective.
- Do not use a hard roller such as a rolling pin.
- Do not roll too close to the knee as this may cause further damage and irritation.
- Make sure that you only use only a foam roller or something soft such as a yoga mat.
Foam roll around the tensor fascia latae (TFL), gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus as these interact and create tension to the IT band during use.
The tensor fascia latae (TFL) is the muscle at the side of the hip. The gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus are the muscles of the butt.
Chiropractor Chiropractor Nicole Lindsey talks about foam rolling the IT band.
Athlean-X talks about how foam rolling cannot likely stretch the IT band. Athlean-X believes that it is more important to roll the muscles that feed into the IT band such as the tensor fasciae latae (TFL), quadriceps, and gluteus maximus.