IT Band Syndrome: Is Foam Rolling Enough?

Chattanooga is a great city for active individuals. There are lots of hiking/running trails, Crossfit gyms, rock climbing spots, as well as the annual ironman and half ironman triathlon events. With all of these avenues for exercise in Chattanooga, there is also the potential for injuries to occur.  

IT Band Syndrome is a common injury in runners and endurance athletes. There are many factors that may contribute to IT Band syndrome including muscle imbalances, pelvic innominate rotations, motor control impairments, and structural issues (genu valgum). The underlying source of pain may be due to compression of the fat pad of the lateral femoral epicondyle secondary to shortening of the distal IT band.

Should you foam roll your IT Bands?

If there is already compression of the lateral femoral condyle fat pad, foam rolling the outside of the knee may lead to further compression of that area and delay or rather prolong healing. With that said, self-myofascial release with a foam roller can be an effective tool for targeting the dysfunctional tissue surrounding the pelvis and hip, commonly including the tensor fascia lata, piriformis, gluteus medius and gluteus maximus.

What other treatments are effective for treating IT Band Syndrome?

Dry needling is a highly effective form of physical therapy treatment for a multitude of musculoskeletal conditions. Dry needling involves inserting a thin, solid filament into the body creating a micro-lesion within the pathologic tissue enhancing the body's ability to heal.  Dry needling can have a profound impact on IT band pain by targeting the dysfunctional soft tissue surrounding the pelvis, hips and knees speeding up healing and allowing for a quicker return to running and other activities. Addressing any underlying movement and motor control issues is also very important when addressing IT Band Syndrome in order to treat the cause of the problem and not just treat the symptoms.


If you do have IT Band syndrome and your symptoms are not improving, you should be seen by a qualified physical therapist to address the cause of the problem.  If you are unsure of how to choose a qualified physical therapist in your area, check out my blog post titled "How To Choose Your Physical Therapist" for more information.

If you are in or around the Chattanooga area and dealing with an injury, Athletic Edge Physical Therapy offers a free 15-minute consultation to discuss your case and determine the best options for treatment.