Bio Anatomy: The IT Band
The IT Band is a broad, flat sheet of connective tissue that runs from the lateral side of ilium (hip bone) down the outside of the leg to the tibia (lower leg). This tissue serves as a tendon for the Tensor Fascia Lata muscle as well as the Gluteus Maximus muscle. In addition, the IT Band serves as a passive restraint for lateral forces to the hip and knee joints.
IT Band Muscles: The Tensor Fascia Lata muscle has two divisions (the anterior, posterior fibers), while the Gluteus Maximus muscle has three divisions (the iliac, the sacral, and coccygeal fibers). When all divisions of these two muscles are strong, movements of the hip and knee can be performed more easily, efficiently, and pain-free. The resulting pull on the Ilio-Tibial Band will be appropriately directed and this can provide a great amount of stability to the hip when performing such movements as hip flexion, extension, abduction and internal/ external rotation.
Conversely, a loss of stability (weakness) in any of the muscles that pull on the IT Band can lead to various compensations and symptomatic tightness and/or pain as well as faulty alignment throughout the spine, hip, knee, and foot.
It is a common myth that someone can simply “stretch” his/her IT Band and address these symptoms… however it’s not that simple…
Simply put, those “stretches” you see and/or perform may attempt to lengthen the muscles that attach to the IT band, but you can not stretch the IT Band itself. The IT Band is a tendon. You will not alter its length, and even if you could, that would be inadvisable given that a tendon’s set length is what allows it the ability to transmit muscular force to bone. Muscle stretches to address these symptoms are often a misguided effort, as the tightness(es) people are trying to address are often a symptomatic result of your body sensing instability and/or muscle weakness somewhere and tightening up other muscles as a protective measure… so why not address the real issue of muscle weakness and instability?
In order to achieve effective and pain free movement the muscles that surround the hips must be working properly and balanced. The preferred method of assessing and correcting weaknesses and muscle imbalances is a biomechanics assessment system known as Muscle Activation Techniques (M.A.T.). M.A.T. corrects the imbalances that lead to pain, inflexibility and limited physical performance.
With Certified and Master Certified Specialists throughout the country, it has become easier for any person currently enrolled in a physical activity program to see a M.A.T. practitioner to receive an assessment of his or her unique biomechanical needs.
Bio-Dynamix, a fitness and wellness firm in Shelton, CT, is the longest standing M.A.T. practice in New England, and specializes in precision exercise, conditioning and muscle balancing. Questions or Comments, Contact Bio-Dynamix 3 Corporate Dr, Shelton, CT 203-225-0772 firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.bio-dynamix.com