The iliotibial band is a thickening of the fascia on the lateral side of the thigh. The IT band goes from the lateral side of the ilium down to the tibia. When it is tight it can cause pain on the lateral side of the knee, proximal to the knee joint. Some therapists work directly on the IT band, but because it is a long tendon it does not stretch.
A much better way of lengthening the IT band is to stretch the muscles that attach into this long tendon, which are the tensor fascia lata and the lateral fibers of the gluteus maximus.
I used to work on the IT band doing long deep strokes with stretching, trying to lengthen the band. I don't do that any more, as studies have shown that the band does not stretch. The IT band is non-contractile tissue, and does not stretch.
I have seen clients with bruising on their lateral thigh from using foam rollers to try to stretch the IT band. I don't recommend foam rollers for that purpose. The rollers may help some, by relaxing the Vastus Lateralis underneath the band, but when they are overused they may irritate the IT band.
Instead of working on the band, which doesn't stretch, I like working on the muscles that feed into the band. The work is much more effective, with much less pain than working directly on the band.
This video shows Soft Tissue Release techniques to work into the TFL and Gluteus Maximus while stretching them. It also shows massage cupping along the edges of the IT band to help lift the band off of the Vastus Lateralis.
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