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Foam Rolling IT Bands = Waste of Time

At Chiro Clinic Moncton, I actually have a foam roller in my treatment room to demonstrate what NOT to do when using one. Though there are many great applications for the foam roller in relieving muscle tension, rubbing it aggressively along your iliotibial bands is not a good idea. Current scientific research suggests that pain localised to the side of the thigh is more typically due to weak gluteals and irritation of a fat pad deep to the band itself. This theory is supported because the ITB is more like fascia rather a contractile muscle - and when a person's entire body weight is placed upon this region while using a foam roller, it more than likely causes pain due to irritation of that fatty tissue.

But it hurts, so it must be good, right? WRONG. People who use the foam roller directly on the ITB are likely to suffer further injury to the region, simply due to aggressive soft tissue irritation. Chances are, even if a person feels they are getting some benefit from foam rolling the ITBs, they're probably not.

Here's what to do. The ITB can be treated appropriately by releasing muscles that directly connect to the region - those largely being tensor fascia latae (TFL) and gluteus medius. With careful application, it is possible to successfully use the foam roller to lengthen these muscles, in addition to gently stretching the vastus lateralis muscle as well. Once these specific muscles have been released, a gluteal strengthening program will provide further benefit to the ITB and prevent re-injury.

Moral of the Story - Don't Use the Foam Roller Directly on IT Bands.


Dr Ryan Coster is a chiropractor providing the people of Greater Moncton with exceptional chiropractic care. He treats musculoskeletal pain and combines various treatment methods to keep patients pain-free. Call (506) 852-3900 for an Appointment.

29 Mountain Road, Moncton NB

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