I hear this all the time .Therapists love telling clients that their ITB is tight .Sometimes it is but very often it is not and clients end up having aggressive massage that is painful and can cause bruising on a sensitive area that does not need the work .
The ITB is not a muscle it is fascia and it serves as an important stabiliser of the lateral line of the body including the knee . You can not stretch the ITB ! i repeat you cannot stretch the ITB ! It attaches from the pelvis onto the tibia , the Glute max and Tensor fascia latte ( TFL ) join onto the upper portion of the ITB and the Peroneals on the lower portion .
Some interesting tests have been done in a lab with ITB cadavers . The ITB cadavers were measured and hung up on hooks with 60 pound weights attached to the ends for 24 hours . Very little lengthening occurred when the cadavers were taken down and remeasured . So how is half an hour of your elbow going to lengthen an ITB when a 60 pound weight failed over a 24 hour period ?
Thomas Myers excellent Anatomy trains text describes the lateral line of which the ITB forms a small but important part .
As you can see the lateral line starts from the lower leg Peroneals and travels up along the ITB, TFL , Glute max , External and Internal obliques , Intercostals ,Scalenes , Rectus capitus and Sterno cliedo mastoid .
Ober Test .
This is a simple test to directly test the ITB . If indeed the ITB is tight then the leg when left by the therapist will not drop . If the leg stays up and we know the ITB is not capable of stretching then it stands to reason that the other parts of the lateral line may be the culprits .
Thomas test .
For our purposes we will simply test the TFL and Glute max .
So next time your client tells you that their ITB is tight you know that there are other factors at work that may be making the lateral line tight .
Keep a lookout for my post on KNEE PAIN next week .
Have a great weekend .