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Massage therapy can help to decrease pain and muscle aches, reduce stress and anxiety, and promote overall wellness and relaxation.

I have a tight iliotibial band. I've tried foam rolling but it's not getting better. What sort of massage regimen can help alleviate this?

Anne Hoff (Seattle, WA) on Dec 14, 2011
I'd try Rolfing Structural Integration, Hellerwork, or some other form of structural integration. If your whole body is in structural balance, then there will be less strain on the IT band.
Della Melville (Plainfield, IL) on Dec 14, 2011
Other muscles may be responsible for causing a tight ITB, such as psoas, rectus femoris, or TFL (which is part of the ITB). A qualified Massage Therapist can properly address your specific needs to help alleviate this problem.
Larry Tipper (Wilmington, NC) on Dec 14, 2011
NMT is the best massage that will help with a short (tight) IT band.
Nicolle Cobell-Williams (Acworth, GA) on Dec 14, 2011
You would benefit greatly from some stretching called Muscle Energy Techniques (METs) for your iliotibial band. Find a good sports massage therapist that incorporates stretching into their massage sessions. They can show you many different stretches to keep the IT band loose on an ongoing basis.
Brian Wah (Herndon, VA) on Dec 14, 2011
It's not the type of massage but the skill of your practitioner. Acupuncture or shiatsu works wonders!
Jonathan McCarthy (Philadelphia, PA) on Dec 14, 2011
Myofascial release can really get an IT band to relax, but as you probably already know, working on it can be a bit painful. Myofascial release uses heat and energy from the hands to warm up the connective tissue (in this case your IT band) and pull through the tight areas. You can do a quick version of how this works just by trying to pinch and hold a bit of your arm skin between your thumb and finger. The longer you hold and pinch, the more the fascia (connective tissue) will warm up and the skin will slide its way back out of your fingers. With an IT band, I would be using my whole hand and thumbs to hook under the IT band and warm it up. If you are lucky, one session might do the trick, but two or three treatments per leg should get you some relief. Jonathan McCarthy LMT
Nataliya McAfee (Louisville, KY) on Dec 14, 2011
The best massage regimen for tight iliotibial band would be sports massage, Thai stretching, or Tui Na. All these modalities involve stretching techniques and joint mobilization. Tui Na also provides an energizing vibration and steady rhythm, which is very helpful for myofascial tightness.
Nadia Loury (Glenolden, PA) on Dec 14, 2011
I would recommend deep tissue massage.
Carin Piacente (Putnam Valley, NY) on Dec 14, 2011
Well first off, there must be a reason why your IT band is tight. You must figure out if it is compensating for another muscle group that is weak or overactive. I personally would have the massage therapist work on the entire leg and incorporate stretching within the treatment time. I would also make sure to pin and stretch the TFL muscle that the IT band actually attaches into it. Again it may not be just one thing that is causing the problem.
Jennie Mison (Philadelphia, PA) on Feb 8, 2012
Foam rolling has proven to be both a blessing and a snake oil cure for the masses. On the one hand, its cheaper than a massage, more convenient than a massage appointment and much more consistent in what is delivered than massage therapists. On the other hand, it doesn't really help, its awkward to do and it doesn't really help. However, the folks making those foam rollers for you are certainly benefiting from it. Here's the problem: If you have a tight iliotibial band, it is tight for a reason and it has probably been tight for a long time (and getting tighter). I would even make a nearly psychic guess that you are a runner or winter sports athlete/enthusiast! Am I right? *grin* Your iliotibial band is a knee "stabilizer" so its primary job is to stabilize your knee during lateral motion stress which occurs when you are doing anything that might involve your lower leg (calf/ankle) hitting the ground in anything less than a perfectly straight line down from your hip joint. Runners seem to suffer the most from this because the action of your foot hitting the ground in a running stride is not a perfect engineering line between three joints (ankle, knee and hip) and often there is a slight lateral shift at the break point (knee joint) between the two distal joints of the action (ankle and hip) as the weight of the body comes down and the body actually does a coiling or spring like twist (its very subtle) to try and absorb some of the shock from the action. (Your body doesn't actually hit the ground in a straight line, bend at the joints and simply snap open again like a hinged tool. Your joints, muscles, and all other sinewy parts actually react in a motion like a chinese finger puzzle and twist or coil slightly to absorb and spread the shock force and make it more diffuse and less damaging!) So with that said, this is where your iliotibial band comes in and as the whole leg and all its part come down, coil and recoil while the joints are closing and opening - the iliotibial band is snapping into place and literally bracing your knee to keep it from snapping open at the side where there is the least resistance (without the IT band). So how to make this better? Get a massage from someone who is familiar with your sport or knows what they are doing to help get that IT (iliotibial) band to relax and rest so it doesn't get worse and cause OTHER problems (and if neglected, it will) - and check your shoes and your body mechanics! If you are a runner, there may be an issue with the fit of your running shoes or the way they are constructed causing a little too much instability in your strike and creating more stress on the knee during the action (which then fires the IT band more often and with more determination). If you play another sport, there are other considerations involved but without knowing what the sport is (and because there are so many of them) it is hard to determine possible causes. I hope this helps!
Cherline Metelus (Atlanta, GA) on Dec 14, 2011
Since you have tried the foam rolling, and it did not help now you have to get someone to release the tightness for you. Now I will tell you it's probably the most painful felling ever because the therapist has to breakdown and release the tight band and fascia. Thank you ' Cherline
Tom Chancy (Reno, NV) on Dec 14, 2011
The IT Band is never a fun area to experience foam rolling or any other self-help therapy. Massage in this area can be uncomfortabl as well. A good massage therapist can use a series of stretching and deep tissue massage to release this troublesome area. You may also wish to try hot stone massage to melt away the tension here.
Leah Nelson (Salt Lake City, UT) on Dec 14, 2011
What you want to do is lengthen your TFL (tensor fascia latae) and gluteus maximus. These two muscles attach toyour ITB. It is extremely hard to change the actual ITB without working on those muscles and the surrounding hip area and muscles. Hope this gives you a good place to start!
Kim Pham (Cincinnati, OH) on Dec 14, 2011
Myofascial release or Rolfing should do the trick. Hands are more effective than the roller because the pressure should vary according to the tissue. A roller can not differentiate what is tight and what is not. It has only one pressure level, it can't be adjusted.
Terri Hosfeld (Phoenix, AZ) on Dec 14, 2011
Therapeutic massage, which can encompass many modalities, would be my suggestion. The IT band really doesn't stretch, however,the tensor fasia latea, the muscle at the top of the IT band, does. Focusing trigger point, stripping and other therapeutic modalities can be quite effective. I hope this helps.
James Delgadillo (Memphis, TN) on Dec 14, 2011
Deep tissue massage, combined with both active and passive stretches, can be very effective in treating IT band tightness.
Shari Auth (New York, NY) on Dec 14, 2011
Deep tissue massage and Rolfing will help.
Deborah Gilmore (Golden, CO) on Dec 14, 2011
Myoskeletal alignment or neuromuscular therapy are good options.
Geraldine Macinski (Sandy Hook, CT) on Dec 14, 2011
I suggest getting a massage which includes the entire leg, including the TFL, as tension in a muscle often affects the surrounding muscles.
Geraldine Macinski (Sandy Hook, CT) on Dec 14, 2011
I suggest getting a massage which includes the entire leg, including the TFL, as tension in a muscle often affects the surrounding muscles.
Daniel Cook (Woodinville, WA) on Dec 14, 2011
It is important to remember that the IT band is not muscle--it is a bundle of fascia which is effectively a long tendon. The muscles that activate it are the Tensor Fasciae Latae and Gluteus Maximus, and in order to release IT band tension is it best to address these muscles. A competent Massage Therapist who specializes in Deep Tissue massage should be able to accomplish this. Best of Luck, Daniel Cook, EAMP, LMP
Judy Watkins (New Smyrna Beach, FL) on Dec 14, 2011
The iliotibial (IT) band needs to be assessed by palpating the muscles around it. Often the muscles become "glued" to the IT band. I've been trained to lift the IT band away from the muscles by using slow deep strokes in the direction of the adjacent muscles and between the IT band and those muscles. After assessing whether the IT band is stuck to the muscles, an assessment should be done to the attachment sites of the IT Band. Some cross fiber friction may be needed. Your IT band is tight for a particular reason,whether it is overuse, misuse, disuse or trauma. Then add in your own pattern of walking/running, working, acquired habits, etc., and you may find that a few treatments on the IT Band may not fix the problem. I recommend that you see a professional massage therapist or other bodyworker to address why the IT Band is tight. This may be difficult for you to work on by yourself. By using a roller, all you are doing is compressing the tissue.
Julie LaFrano (Breckenridge, CO) on Dec 14, 2011
Deep cross fiber friction. Try using tennis balls.
Scott Gauthier (Denver, CO) on Dec 14, 2011
Structural Integration will look not just at your iliotibial band but at how your whole leg is oriented and functioning. Often we find that the problem is not quite where you think it is, and that working on the spot of discomfort won't necessarily fix the problem. If there are issues with your feet, ankles, knees or hips that cause you to place undo stress upon your iliotibial band, then addressing your IT band without addressing the other issues is all for naught.
Jonathan Liem (Monrovia, CA) on Dec 14, 2011
It depends if your ITB is simply "tight" or if you have ITB syndrome and constant pain and a significant decrease in your range of motion. If it were me, I would look for a massage therapist that knows MFT (aka MRT) Myofascial Release Therapy. If you are an athlete gearing up for a marathon or a triathalon, I'd find someone and negotiate a few sessions. If you can afford it, ART or Active Release Therapy, is also good. It can be painful, but also really helpful. You can check the ART website for a list of providers in your area as well. Don't waste time, in my opinion, going to a spa - look up a massage clinic, or a chiropractor that specializes in sports medicine - they often employ massage therapists or do ART themselves. I recommend three to six sessions, depending on the duration and intensity of your condition. Again, I am not a doctor, but this is what I would do if I had your problem.
Tonya Kostenko (Manhattan, TX) on Dec 14, 2011
Your therapist can try indirect myofascial release, which targets the connective tissue by applying sustained pressure over a long period of time. This technique does not use firm pressure like foam rolling does, but works by releasing fascia slowly, beginning with superficial layers, then working deeper. You may find lasting results with this more gentle approach.
Mark Carlson (Costa Mesa, CA) on Dec 14, 2011
Try acupressure.
Michael Wolfes (Palm Desert, CA) on Dec 14, 2011
In my opinion, receiving Deep Tissue massage followed by Swedish massage once aweek should help. Do stretching exercises every day followed by warm water to help the band relax more.
Joe Lavin (Kirkland, WA) on Dec 14, 2011
Having a tight iliotibial band is like having a headache or the common cold. There are dozens of potential causes and a lot of so called remedies. To keep this very short; the best massage regimens for the IT band would be deep tissue, Thai massage (because of stretching) and Rolfing. Other than that, you should check with your doctor and/or a physical therapist.
Joe Lavin (Seattle, WA) on Dec 14, 2011
Having a tight iliotibial band is like having a headache or the common cold. There are dozens of potential causes and a lot of so called remedies. To keep this very short; the best massage regimens for the IT band would be deep tissue, Thai massage (because of stretching) and Rolfing. Other than that, you should check with your doctor and/or a physical therapist.
Dorothy Adams (Akron, OH) on Dec 14, 2011
Myofacial release or trigger point therapy, along with deep tissue massage and a deep heat application, could be very beneficial. Add stretching and now you have exponential improvement. Try the yoga pose eye of the needle ( with a good instructor in addition to your deep tissue and myofacial release massage, and you should get some good results. You may also want to try someone certified in MyoKin technique massage. lt uses resistance stretches to reset stubborn fascial tissue. All the best!
James Eslinger (Vancouver, WA) on Dec 14, 2011
I find that releasing the glutes and the TFL will loosen up the IT Band and make easier to work on and less painful. In most cases, if the IT Band is tight it will also be stuck to the surrounding muscles, so some myofacial release will help. As for the foam roller, it is great for maintenance.
Jayma Temple (Worthington, OH) on Dec 14, 2011
One of the best ways I have found to reduce tightness in the IT band is the use of massage cupping. In cupping massage, suction is used to lift soft tissues, which allows stagnant fluids to move more freely and carrying toxins away from the area worked. It also effectively breaks up adhesions from injury or overuse. It is generally painless, quick and very relaxing. While cupping massage is new to most clients, it is becoming more popular and is safe for anyone medically approved for massage.
Devinder Singh (Damascus, MD) on Dec 14, 2011
The two main muscles that are addressed when dealing with ITB syndrome are the Gluteus Maximus (the hip) and the Tensor Fasciae Latae (TFL) muscles. The TFL muscles does most of the work while we stand, thereby allowing the other muscles to rest. First, stop all activities like running to let the muscles rest. Second, do stretching and then bathe in warm water. Third, go for deep tissue massage of the gluteus maximus and ask the therapist to use Biofreeze. Fourth, get soft or medium-pressure massage around knee with leg bent inward.
Erin Hanson (Cedar City, UT) on Dec 14, 2011
The IT band is a thick band of connective tissue that is actually supposed to be tight, otherwise you wouldn't be able to hold any weight on your legs. If you're feeling knee or hip pain, I would actually try the roller or a tennis ball on your hamstrings, quads, and glutes (especially right on the side of your hip). Tension in any of these muscle groups can cause pain along the leg and knee.
Brian Divine (Carrollton, TX) on Dec 14, 2011
The iliotibial band can be tricky. Because it is essentially a long tendon, it doesn't respond to stretching and massage work in the same way as a muscle does. A few things can cause the IT band to be tight. The first is the muscles that attach to the IT band (Tensor Facia Latae, glutes, etc). Work on these muscles can help the IT band relax. The muscles are causing the tension, but you notice it in the IT band. Another thing that can cause the IT band to be tight is the quad and/or hamstring muscles adhering to the IT band, which will restrict movement. Good myofacial work on both these muscle groups will relieve the restrictions and loosen the IT band. This is also what your foam roller helps with. Often it can be a combination of these. This kind of work takes a bit of time, so you may need some more targeted sessions where your therapist evaluates what may be causing it and then works on limited areas to help alleviate the problem.
Keith Dougherty (, ) on Dec 14, 2011
You might want to look again at your technique with the rollers. Most of my massage clients have benefited from foam rollers. (At first I was skeptical, but the number of people relaying this to me convinced me). Aside from stretching, a soft fist technique/ forearm is strong yet gentle, and is a technique I find useful.
Derek Duke Noble (New York, NY) on Dec 14, 2011
My recommendations for a tight IT band: get a certified sports massage therapist to do some deep tissue trigger point release massage on the tight area. My Noble wellness homecare recommendation for a tight IT band is a tennis ball massage roll out on the tight area followed by a hydrotherapy treatment of hot packs and cold packs. In good health, Duke
Jennifer Forte (Ithaca, NY) on Dec 14, 2011
I would recommend regular massage, at least every other week, if not once a week. Connective tissue therapy can be very helpful in this case. Communicate with your therapist about whether the pressure and depth being applied is comfortable for you. The IT band can be very sensitive and sore for some people. Some trigger point work may be helpful as well, if done around the knee in your quadriceps and where the IT band attaches. Checking in with your psoas through the abdomen would not hurt either. A tight psoas, or any other hip flexors could contribute to a tight iliotibial band. Stretching and heat applications should also help.
Josee Knecht (Memphis, TN) on Dec 14, 2011
A Sports Massage with long Swedish effleurage strokes would be best. Sports massage includes passive isolated stretching, which should be gentle initially and slowly work up to a medium pressure. Hope that helps! Oh, also anything with heat will help, such as thermal palm massage.
Caryn Brogan (Elmsford, CT) on Dec 14, 2011
Stretch. You can also try the stripping of the muscle from the lateral portion of the knee up to the greater trocantor.
Jyoti Rawlinson (Sedona, AZ) on Dec 14, 2011
Foam rolling alone is unlikely to change this condition, although it can feel good. A tight ITB is the result of tightness in other areas and can be best resolved by working and releasing, for example, the tensor fascia latae muscle at the side of the hip, and or the gluteal muscles and deep rotator muscles of the hips. Working with a therapist trained in Active Isolated Stretching and/or Myoskeletal Alignment Techniques would be my recommendation. They will be able to assess what is going on that is contributing to this condition, and use appropriate techniques to bring the body back into balance.