Fascinating and Sometimes Irritating Fascia

Fascia, most people have never thought about it, unless they have had trouble with their Iliotibial Band - sometimes the Iliotibial Band is also called the IT Band.  

The IT Band is a fibrous (fascial) super highway connecting the buttocks muscles to the knee. Fascia is the connecting fabric of our bodies making that nursery rhyme anatomically correct....the knee bone IS connected to the hip bone and so on.

There are 3 types of fascia:  superficial, deep and visceral.  The superficial fascia is connected to the dermis of our skin and helps gives our bodies shape.  The deep fascia, shrink wraps our muscles and also penetrates deep into the muscles.   Finally, visceral fascia suspends our organs.

When muscles contract so does fascia.  Fascia can help give us super human strength. When a person lifts a car off of their child.  They not only have adrenaline coursing through their bodies feeding their body with incredible energy but their fascia tightens up giving their bodies more internal support for their super human feat!

Fascia can become a problem when there is repetitive contractions of certain muscles.  These repetitive contractions cause more fibers to be lain down. This process is the culprit when a person has trouble with their IT Band.  Tight IT Bands occur very commonly with runners.  Treatment for tight IT Bands is to stretch and to get deep tissue massage.  If you do not have money for a deep tissue massage you can do it yourself with a foam roller.

Position yourself sideways on the foam roller.  Roll up and down the side of your thigh from your hip to your knee.  However, do not roll over the bony parts of your knee.  You are looking for tender spots - give them some attention.  If you find this to be very tender, try to support yourself with your hands and crossed over foot by focusing on lifting yourself up off of the roller.  You could also roll your IT Band with a dowel or rolling pin while you are seated in a chair.

Spend some time on your IT Band; 2-3 minutes per side.  The IT Band will become less sensitive as you consistently perform the foam rolling.

The picture below demonstrates how to foam roller your IT Band.

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