How to Foam Roll the TFL and IT Band
The Tensor Fascia Latae is a small muscle on the lateral side of the hip, which forms the Iliotibial band, running down and inserting on the lateral portion of the tibia. The TFL and IT band are very often tight and overactive, which can lead to limited range of motion in the legs and the inability to squat and get in other positions with the knees bent. Knee pain is also associated with overactivity in this area, which is referred to as IT band syndrome in some cases. Foam rolling this are can reduce neurological activity and reduce many movement compensations associated with its tightness.
To foam roll the TFL:
Lie on the floor on your side. Place the foam roller under the hip, with the opposite foot placed on the floor in front of the leg being rolled in a bent position.
Support yourself on your forearm and foot, and place your weight on the foam roller slowly. The foam roller should be positioned in about the same place your hand would be if it were in your pocket.
As you put your weight on the foam roller, roll down toward the knee slowly and find the point of greatest tenderness. This is the trigger point.
After locating the trigger point, relax the muscles of the leg and hip, and put as much pressure as possible on this point, holding it for 20-30 seconds. Use your opposite leg to press down and relieve pressure from your hip if the pain becomes too extreme. Remember to keep the muscle relaxed the entire time.
Switch legs and repeat!
To foam roll the IT band:
The procedure is the same as that for the TFL, but you will roll down further toward the knee. Often, you will find a trigger point in this area a few inches above the knee.
Remember to relax the muscles of the leg and hold the pressure on the trigger point for 20-30 seconds.
Switch legs and repeat.
The TFL and IT band are very commonly overactive, and will often cause the knees to move medially or laterally during a squat. In addition, and tight TFL or IT band can pull on the knee joint and cause knee pain, especially on the lateral side of the knee. Foam rolling this area daily can often resolve these problems in a relatively short period of time, and is worth the effort (and pain). As always, a full assessment should be performed by a qualified professional in order to get the best results.