Here is a snippet from my video “Self Massage for Recovery”. I’ve included a few additional techniques at the end of the video and here are two that address the IT Band specifically.
It’s important to note a few things about the Iliotibial tract. In his book Trail Guide to the Body, Andrew Biel defines the IT Band as “a superficial sheet of fascia with vertical fibers that run along the lateral thigh. The iliotibial tract has a thick, matted texture (similar to packing tape) that makes it a strong stabilizing component of the hip and knee.” Thus, the IT Band does not have the ability to lengthen and shorten like a muscle does. It is connective tissue that offers stability to the lateral portion of the knee and to the hip. Trying to lengthen it, in my opinion, won’t have much long lasting effect.
Prevention is always the best approach to avoiding a long term problem. Incorporating the techniques that I demonstrate in the video as part of your self care program will go a long way in avoiding long term and more serious problems with the IT Band. Always remember to work within your breath; if you are wincing or holding your breath you’re defeating the purpose of the technique. Work within a tolerance you can handle. Regular attention over time will help with very tender tissue.