The ITB is the thick band of fascia that you can feel down the outside of your leg. It is an extension of the TFL (Tensor Fascia Latae) muscle, which is one of your hip flexor muscles. The ITB connects your pelvis to the outside of your knee. It holds your leg ridged when you place all your weight on one leg and assists in keeping your knee in a straight position when you walk or run.
The ITB does not contract because it is not a muscle, as it is lacking in elastin and has much more collagen. It is a bit like a steel cable and it is therefore, very difficult to stretch or release with massage/foam rolling.
Usually, the TFL muscle is the culprit when you feel tightness or pain in the outside of the knee or leg. If the TFL becomes overly tight at the top of the leg from over training or lots of sitting, it will pull on the fascia of the ITB, which can then be felt as pain at the distal attachment- the outside of the knee.
Release into the TFL from a good massage therapist and using stretching techniques such as MET (Muscle Energy Technique) will help to release any tension in the TFL muscle, by using the ITB as a lever to help stretch the TFL.
Using a foam roller and spikey ball to self-release the TFL muscle at home, can be beneficial for people who might be suffering from knee or hip pain. Some people find this area too difficult to release themselves, so please let us assist.
ITBFS (Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome) has the potential to develop if you let yourself get too tight. Many runners find that they get pain on the upper outside part of the knee and will be unable to run due to this pain, but are potentially OK with other activities. A massage to release the tight TFL and other surrounding muscles will help you to resolve this problem, so you can continue doing the activities you love.