Why Your IT Band SHOULD be tight!
Written By Cat Blatner
I hear athletes say all the time, “My knees hurt so bad! I know it’s just my tight IT Band.” In fact, I used to say the same before I really started to understand the function and anatomical position of the IT Band. Let me start off by saying a few basic rules of thumb.
Tendons are meant to be tight, they connect muscle to bone and in order to do their job efficiently they must stay strong and hold their position.
Ligaments are also supposed to be rigid as well. These connect bone to bone and therefore have a very important job to do when it comes to the stabilizing the bones of the body.
Muscles are meant to have some give. Yes, they should be strong but we want them to have elasticity to them as well so that the tendons and muscles hold complimentary jobs to one another. If muscles have little to no give to them, this is when we start pulling on tendons and this can cause major problems and can lead to injuries.
Let’s take a closer look at the IT Band. This tendon is meant to perform lateral stabilization of the knee. (Keyword being stabilization) If we want something stable, do we want it to be loose? Of course not. So what could be going on really? Well, the Iliotibial band is connected to two very important muscles in the hip region. Those two muscles are the Tensor Fascia Latae (TFL) and the Glute Medius as seen in the photo below:
Now, I want to shed some light on the importance of muscle balance. When the IT Band is pulled into a compromised position this is not the fault of the IT band itself but of either the TFL or the Glute. If you have a chronic tightness in your TFL and inactivity of the glute it will cause an anterior pull to the Iliotibial Band. This pull with therefore cause a residual side effect of pain in the knee. Crazy right? Everything really IS connected. On the opposite end of the spectrum a chronically tight glute can also cause a slight displacement of the IT band and a painful chain reaction will occur.
How do we relieve this pain?
The short story is that you need balance on your IT Band. There are many different ways to gain this balance but smashing your IT band won’t necessarily do the trick. Keep following Invictus Fitness for my follow up Blogs about releasing your TFL as well as your glutes. Thank you for following our blog, I hope this information was helpful and insightful!
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