Foam Rolling the Iliotibial Band

By Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC

 Las Vegas Informer

Foam roll the iliotibial band to decrease tension. Utilize the foam roller to overcome tightness in the iliotibial band.

The foam roller is a cylindrical shaped piece of hard foam. Foam rollers are available in a variety of lengths and densities. The roller is a durable piece of rehabilitation equipment that reduces muscle tightness and expedites recovery.

The iliotibial band, also known as the iliotibial tract, is a long fibrous structure located on the lateral thigh. It functions to stabilize the knee and assist the hip and thigh muscles in several motions.

Tightness in the iliotibial band is a main contributing factor to painful and performance limiting conditions such as iliotibial band syndrome and patello-femoral syndrome. Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) is pain in the lateral knee, thigh and hip. Patello-femoral syndrome (PFS), nicknamed runner’s knee, is pain behind and around the kneecap. Both of these conditions are common among athletes, especially runners. The chief intrinsic source of ITBS and PFS is iliotibial band tautness.

Prevent and manage over tightness in the iliotibial band to combat runner’s knee and ITBS. The foam roller is an excellent tool to lessen tension. Emphasize the iliotibial band and target the surrounding muscles for optimum results. Hit the tensor fascia latae and the gluteus maximus muscles because they insert into the iliotibial band. Directly work the vastus lateralis and bicep femoris since they are located next to the iliotibial band.

Place the foam roller on a level surface. Get on your side and position the lateral aspect of your thigh on top of the roller. Start at the lower aspect of the iliotibial band and slowly begin to roll your body downward. Begin with very mild pressure. Control the amount of pressure by raising or lowering your body over the foam roller. The amount of bodyweight you use either increases or decreases the pressure you apply.

When you hit a tight spot, hold pressure on it for six seconds, and then move to the next tight spot and repeat. Work the entire iliotibial band in a slow and controlled fashion.

Boney prominences exist at the very bottom and very top of the iliotibial band, therefore the pressure used in those spots should always be lighter.

Combine foam roller with self massage techniques to increase effectiveness. Static stretching executed after foam rolling further decreases tension in the iliotibial and its surrounding muscles.

Incorporate foam rolling into your post workout recovery phase and rest day activities to lessen tension in the iliotibial band. Utilize foam rolling the iliotibial band to decrease the possibility of acquiring iliotibial band syndrome and patella-femoral syndrome.

Dr_Donald_A_Ozello_thumb_medium150_Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC

Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC is the owner and treating doctor at Championship Chiropractic. 6445 S. Tenaya Way, Suite #120, Las Vegas, NV 89113.  His web address is He can be contacted at (702) 286-9040 and

Dr. Donald A. Ozello’s mission is to educate and inspire others to live healthier, fitter, more functional lives.

Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC proudly handles Standard Process Supplements and Foot Levelers Orthotics.

Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC writes a weekly health, fitness and nutrition column for the Las Vegas Informer. His is published in OnFitness . He has educational health, fitness and nutritional videos on Informer TV and

Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC is an award-winning public speaker. He has spoken to numerous groups on the importance of health, fitness, exercise, ergonomics, nutrition and injury prevention.

Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC is a fitness enthusiast. Functional kettlebell training, running and bike riding are his favorite types of exercise.

Before pursuing his career in Chiropractic, Dr. Donald A. Ozello DC served in the United States Navy aboard the USS Bremerton, SSN 698.

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