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Running myths and misconceptions exposed!

Unlike most superheroes (we're not superheroes), we do not possess any superpowers (unless irony and satire is a superpower!). We make use (to the best that we can) of intellect, detective skills, science and technology (3D) physical prowess (and photoshop) to help rid the city of misconceptions to help bring the truth to the people! These days, it's really tricky for anyone to follow advice in magazines or forums as R&D (research and development) in the past 2 years (maybe?) has gone supernova in the world of biomechanics causing much of the material given 2 years ago to appear to be dated and somewhat incorrect. At StrideUK, our intention is to expose certain running related assumptions (often anatomy related) that just may not hold water in todays understanding of movement. You decide!


Foam Rolling ITB (running misconception no 214)

IT Band

If you've ever experienced knee pain / discomfort down the outside of your knee especially following long runs, it's highly likely that you ITB Pain (also known as runners knee). This long 'tendon style' muscle fibre can draw tight causing it to rub, creating friction against lateral epicondyle (outside knee). This can cause a hot localised stabbing sensation which can become present on a day to day basis, especially when walking down stairs. Commonly, visiting a sports therapist or physio would treat the area of discomfort often using ultrasound, but the main homework that was often given was to use a foam roller to work up and down the side of your leg with the intention of 'stretching' the ITBand (to provide some space away from the knee bone). This process is commonly very uncomfortable leaving patients close to recovery position in antipation to roll out the other side! Most recent evidence has concluded that the ITB is not actually that great at stretching, in fact, there's very little stretch in it what so ever! So unless you're in it solely for the adrenaline rush of brutalising your leg accordingly, the good news is that it's just not the done thing anymore!

TFL / ITB

For ease of reference, the ITB (illiotibular band) is a long tendon style fibre that comes out of the TFL (a small muscle which sits at the side of the hip neighbouring with the glute). When the TFL contracts (shortens to create movement) it pulls the ITB up to aid knee flexion. In most cases, should the glute become short and tight, the TFL tends to follow in suit. This little overworked muscle will pull short causing the ITB to draw tight removing the cavity between the knee bone, creating friction. At this point, yester-seasons approach would be to try and stretch out the ITB but often with no prevail (apart from the endorphins you get after pummeling the side of your leg believing you are doing good!) For those reasons, logic tells us not to treat the 'symptomatic area' and work on the catalysist instead, that being your TFL!
To summarise - Foam rolling still remains a great bit of kit to use for 'Runners knee' but rather than stripping the full length of the IT band, use the foam roller just to trigger point the TFL instead (you can always get your thumb in there if you've got the strength to 'thumb around' and massage it. 


New titles coming soon!

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