Scraping for IT Band Syndrome

Ariana Purificati Fune

Runners, or any athletes that are constantly on their feet, may be prone to iliotibial (IT) band syndrome. The pain on the outside of your knees can be debilitating and keep you from being active. 

Fortunately, Sidekick tools can be used to attack almost all of the causes of IT band syndrome. 

This article will guide you through scraping the muscles and tendons involved in this injury, helping you get back to your sport. 

IT Band Tightness

The iliotibial band is a long band of connective tissue that runs along the outside of your thigh. It forms from the fascia of the gluteus maximus muscle and the tensor fascia latae muscle, and inserts onto the outside of the tibia bone. With many points of attachment along the outer thigh, there are many causes of IT band tightness. 

The gluteus maximus and tensor fascia latae are both involved in running mechanics. When these muscles contract, they pull on the IT band but overuse can lead to chronic tension1.

The second reason for IT band issues is from friction between the quads and hamstrings. The IT band is an extension of a sheet of connective tissue that separates the lateral quads and hamstrings. Constant friction causes extra scar tissue deposits which we know leads to restrictions in soft tissue. 

One of the muscles in the quadriceps, called the vastus lateralis, has a portion that attaches directly onto the IT band. A third cause for IT band tightness is stiff quadriceps from running1

How to Scrape for IT Band Syndrome

Based on gua sha, muscle scraping breaks up adhesions and encourages your body to remove excess scar tissue. This releases overall tension in the soft tissues that contribute to IT band syndrome. 

Scraping with the Bow: The bow will be the most efficient and effective for scraping the larger muscles contributing to IT band tightness: vastus lateralis, biceps femoris, and gluteus maximus. 

Scraping with the Echo: The tensor fascia latae is a smaller muscle and will be better targeted with the Echo. When scraping directly on the IT band, the edge of this scraper will provide focal pressure to break up the scar tissue. 

Step 1: Spray Revive Emollient Spray

Step 2: Scrape Hamstrings with the Bow

Step 3: Scrape Quads with Bow

Step 4: Scrape IT Band with Bow

Step 5: Scrape TFL with Echo

Supplemental Exercises

Stretching: Proper hip mobility is essential for pain-free movement and running mechanics. Stretching the muscles helps maintain extensibility and relieve tension. Hold each stretch for 30-45 seconds on each side. 

IT Band Stretch

Cat Tail Stretch

Figure 4 Twist Stretch

Forward Fold Cross Stretch

Rolling: Rolling with the Flare allows you to cover more surface area, targeting all of the surrounding musculature at once. Use a lacrosse ball for a more aggressive, more targeted treatment right on the IT band.

Roll Hamstrings with Flare

Roll Quads with Flare

Roll IT Band with Flare

Roll IT Band with Lacrosse Ball

Strengthening: When your glutes/hip abductors are weak, it can allow your femur to adduct and internally rotate which puts tension on your IT band. Strengthening your hip abductors will keep your femur in a proper position therefore relieving excess tension2. Perform 2-4 sets of 8-12 repetitions of each exercise.

Side Plank w/Hip Extension

Monster Walk

Glute Bridge

Clamshell

Conclusion

Maintaining the strength and extensibility of soft tissues is crucial for treating and preventing injury. 

Many different muscle groups contribute to IT band syndrome, and Sidekick muscle scrapers can target each one of them. These supplemental exercises provide you with a comprehensive plan, since recovery is not one size fits all. 

Don’t have a Sidekick muscle scraper? Try one for yourself and feel the relief. 

The Echo is great for the quads, hamstrings, and almost any other part of the body. Use the Bow if you are looking for a more aggressive treatment! 

References

  1. Iliotibial Band Syndrome. (2022, March 24). Physiopedia, . Retrieved 16:34, August 25, 2022 from https://www.physio-pedia.com/index.php?title=Iliotibial_Band_Syndrome&oldid=298676.
  2. Articles. Cedars. (n.d.). Retrieved August 25, 2022, from https://www.cedars-sinai.org/health-library/diseases-and-conditions/i/iliotibial-band-syndrome.html
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Ariana Purificati Fune

Ariana is a Certified Personal Trainer and holds a BSc in Kinesiology. She has a passion for making fitness inclusive and accessible to everyone.

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