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The IT Band & Chiropractic Care

The IT Band & Chiropractic Care


The IT band is unique from other supportive structures in our body because it stabilizes our knees and hips during movement.

Some muscles that assist with hip movement are: portions of the gluteus maximus, medius, minimus, and the tensor fascia lata (TFL), and they are attached to the IT band near the hip.

So while you can’t exactly stretch the IT band, you can stretch the muscles that are attached to it. These muscles help move the hip while the IT band is hard at work, providing crucial support to the outer knee.

To do this, the IT band moves with the knee when it is bent and when it is straightened. As the knee goes from bent to straight, the IT band shifts forward.

Similar to how bone remodels after being placed under stress, the connective tissue in the IT band thickens over time to withstand this repeated stress that naturally occurs. So where does a chiropractor fit in, and how can we help.

What is the IT Band?

The IT band is unique from other supportive structures in our body because it stabilizes our knees and hips during movement. Unlike most fibrous tissues of the same composition, it extends down the outside of the thigh – running from the top of the pelvis (iliac crest) to the outside of the knee (on the tibia).

Signs and Symptoms

IT band syndrome falls into the category of overuse injuries.

This means it can happen over time with poor biomechanical patterns – not from one specific event.

How Does the IT Band Work?

A normal biomechanically sound gait pattern will properly use the muscles that attach to the IT band, the gluteal muscles, and the TFL.

As previously mentioned, these muscles contract and stabilize the pelvis during movement, producing forces that extend through the IT band.

When the body’s weight falls onto one leg, the hip muscles activate to support the pelvis.

Can Chiropractors help?

In short – yes!

A chiropractor receives years of education on identifying poor movement patterns that may be causing overuse injuries, like IT band syndrome.

Chiropractors know that pain is a symptom of a more significant problem, and they are trained to both treat your symptoms and help find the cause.

We’ve put together an awesome list of exercises for you to get started or use as a reference.

  1.  liotibial band foam rolling, side lying; 01
    1 Set / 1 Rep / 1 min duration
Place the foam roller underneath the IT band.
Stack your legs on top of one another to apply added pressure. Roll from the head of the femur to just above the knee joint. Do not roll over bone on a foam roller, stay on the soft tissue.

2. Iliopsoas into hamstring stretch, shifting forward/backward, half kneeling
2 Sets / 10 Reps

Kneel on the floor and place one foot in a large stride in front of you.
Keeping your body tall, push your hips forwards evenly until you feel a stretch in the front of the thigh of your back leg.
Hold this position.
Next, transfer your weight backwards by taking your buttocks towards your back foot as you straighten your front knee and lift your toes.
You will feel a stretch in the back of the thigh of your front leg.
Hold this position, and repeat.

3. “Clamshell” Hip external rotation strengthening; 01
3 Sets / 15 Reps

Lie on your side with your feet, ankles and knees together.
Bend the legs a little and tighten your core stability muscles.
Keeping the feet together, lift the top knee up.
Make sure you don’t roll your body back with the movement.
Control the movement as you bring the knee back down to the starting position.

4. Pilates side leg lift
3 Sets / 15 Reps

Lie on your side with your head resting on your bottom arm which should be stretched straight outwards. Place your top arm on the mat with the elbow bent in front of you for balance.
Your pelvis should be perpendicular to the mat with your legs pressing together and slightly to the front. EXHALE: lift both legs off the mat, keeping them locked.
INHALE: lower your legs back down but do not touch the mat
Keep your feet aligned and together and up off the mat throughout the exercise and use your abdominals to raise your legs upwards.

5. “Bridge” Core/gluteals strengthening; 05
3 Sets / 15 Reps / 1 s hold

Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Tighten your buttock muscles and lift your hips up off the floor.
Make sure you keep your hips up and level throughout the movement. Slowly lower your buttocks and hips back down, and repeat the exercise.

6. Hip abduction gluteus medius strengthening isometric, against wall, knee bent
2 Sets / 2 Reps / 30 s hold

Stand up straight with your side to a wall.
Stand close to the wall.
Your leg closest to the wall will be the one you will exercise.
Bend this knee, bringing your heel up toward your buttock.
Keeping your thighs parallel, press the outside of your thigh into the wall.
Ensure your body remains straight and your hips square.
Your thighs should stay parallel with one another.
Hold this position.
Relax, and then repeat.

7. Hip abduction strengthening isometric, side plank (low) – leg bent
3 Sets / 1 Rep / 30 s hold

Lie on your side with your upper body propped up with your forearm.
Your lower leg should be lying bent on the floor.
Allow your upper leg to be positioned in front of you to help you to lift up into position.
Tighten your abdominal muscles and then use your upper leg and arms to lift your hips from the floor.
You should have a straight line from the tip of your head, down the front of your lower thigh to your knee. Keeping this straight line with your hips lifted up, remove the support of your upper leg, and hold this position. You should feel the muscles at the side of your lower hip begin to work harder.
Place your upper leg back on the floor to control the movement back down to the floor, and then repeat.

Hope you enjoy,

Dr Corey Idrogo

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