Why you shouldn’t foam your computer bracelet
If you’ve heard of iliotibial band (IT), it’s probably in terms of iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS), which typically causes knee pain in runners and cyclists. But if that’s all you know about the IT group, you’re missing out on important information for injury prevention and treatment.
When it comes to treating and preventing IT band pain, if you’re relying on foam rolling the entire length of the IT band, here’s why you should stop – and what you should do in the first place. square.
Why you can’t have a tight IT group
Also known clinically as the iliotibial tract, this large band of connective tissue spans half the length of the leg from hip to knee. It is made up of layers of dense connective tissue, known as the fascia.
Understanding the makeup of the IT group is key to debunking one of the biggest myths about it: You can’t have a tight IT group, says James Gallegro, PT, CSCS, clinical specialist at the Sports Rehabilitation and Performance Center at the Hospital for Special Surgery.
Because the IT cluster is so tough and thick that it cannot be easily deformed, says Nick DiSarro, PT, DPT, physiotherapist at ResilientRx based in Austin, Texas. In fact, DiSarro points to an August 2008 study in theJournal of Osteopathic Medicinewho found that it takes around 2,000 pounds of manual pressure to warp the computer tape. In other words, your computer tape cannot be stretched (or squeezed).
This is not to say that if you feel pain or oppression along the computer tape it is not involved; this could cause tension in the surrounding muscles or tissues. Dr DiSarro uses ITBS in runners as an example, citing that it’s probably coordination issues that lead to the oppression they feel.
“Muscles like the tensor fascia lata (TFL) and gluteus maximus work to slow the leg down whenever it swings it forward when running,” he says. “If these muscles aren’t functioning properly, the IT band can over compress the tissue underneath. This repetitive motion, over time, is what causes the pain.”
Why you need to stop rolling your computer tape
Because the computer band itself cannot be stretched, it’s probably time to change up your stretching and foam rolling routine. Raising and lowering the length of your computer tape will have no effect on the computer tape itself.
“The fascia is actually quite resistant to stretching by design; it is intended to transfer the load, ”explains Gallegro. “The muscles can be stretched, but the fasciae not so much.” And a study from June 2021 in theInternational Journal of Sports Physiotherapysupports this, noting that neither stretching nor foam rolling affects the stiffness along the IT band.
“The foam rolling can create a temporary pain relieving effect because it is a new stimulus for your body’s nervous system,” says DiSarro. “This can lead to a short-term decrease in tone (or muscle protection) and cause a temporary increase in flexibility or just a“ feeling of sagging. ”What it doesn’t do is improve mobility, break down scar tissue / knots / adhesions, or lengthening / loosening the IT band. “
5 Ways To Treat Computer Band Pain (The Right Way)
If rolling foam and stretching your computer headband isn’t doing anything for your pain, then what should you do? Don’t throw away the foam roller just yet – you can still use it – and make sure it’s a small part of a larger approach to the surrounding muscles and structures.
As with any injury, as soon as pain or discomfort appears, it’s time to change your physical activity until the pain subsides or you get a diagnosis or an appropriate treatment plan.
DiSarro says it can feel like cutting back on mileage or changing your training schedule to focus on strength and flexibility exercises (see below for more on these).
Water makes up the majority of fascia volume, according to a January 2012 article in theJournal of Body and Movement Therapy. This means that the fascia relies on hydration to stay healthy.
“If someone is underhydrated, the fascial layers will not be able to slide and move freely,” says Gallegro. “When the fascia is under constant tension, the composition of the tissue stiffens, preventing this normal slipping and sliding.”
3. Stretch the surrounding muscles
Although you cannot stretch the IT band, you can stretch the muscles around it. Gallegro specifically recommends focusing on stretching the TFL and gluteus maximus. Options include a seated spine twist, iron cross stretch, and standing glute stretch.
Stroke 1: Seated spine twist
- Sit with your legs extended in front of you.
- Bend your right knee towards the ceiling and cross your right foot so that it is resting outside your left knee.
- Cross your left arm and use it as a lever to turn to the right. Your left forearm should press on your right thigh.
- Hold for 30 seconds before untwisting and repeating on the other side.
Movement 2: Stretching the Iron Cross
- Lie on your back and extend your legs up to the ceiling with your knees bent at 90 degrees.
- Stretch your arms out alongside the body, making sure your shoulder blades, spine, and palms are all in contact with the floor.
- Slowly rotate your knees side to side, keeping your shoulder blades flat on the floor to stimulate your postural muscles.
Movement 3: Standing glute stretch
- Stand up straight and cross your left foot over your right knee.
- Sit your hips back and use your left elbow to press lightly on your left knee to deepen the stretch.
- Hold for 15 to 30 seconds before doing the same on the other leg.
4. Perform strength exercises
As stated above, strength and flexibility exercises should be a priority when dealing with pain around the computer band.
“The idea is to incorporate lateral hip strength and lower body stability exercises through movements that improve proprioception (the ability to feel and be aware of body position) and control. neuromuscular (the body’s unconscious response to maintain stability), “says Aaron Horschig, PT, DPT, CSCS, owner of Squat University and author ofRebuild Milo.
He recommends assisted single-leg squats, side-step marches, and Romanian single-leg deadlifts.
Movement 1: Assisted squat on one leg
- Stand in front of a chair or sofa.
- Raise your right leg in front of you.
- Rooting your left heel, press your hips back and slowly sit down on the chair, keeping your back flat.
- Tap the chair lightly with your butt, then press down on your left heel and reverse the movement to return to a standing position.
- Once you have completed the time on that leg, switch sides.
Movement 2: Lateral walking of the belt
- Place a mini band around your ankles and stand with your feet hip-width apart.
- Bend your knees slightly and lower yourself a few inches into an “athletic position”.
- Stand on the right side with your right foot.
- Step your left foot to your right to bring your feet hip-width apart.
- Keeping your knees bent, take several steps to the right.
- Repeat this movement while moving to the left.
Shot 3: Romanian one-legged deadlift
- Stand on your right leg while holding a dumbbell by your side in your right hand.
- Keeping your right knee slightly bent, perform a deadlift with your legs straight by bending your hip, extending your free leg behind you for balance, or resting the top of your foot on a bench.
- Continue lowering the dumbbell until your upper body is parallel to the floor, then return to an upright position.
5. Roll the muscles around the computer band
Here’s where you need that foam roller! DiSarro recommends spending time rolling your glutes, TFL, and quads for shorter periods – “less is more!” he said – to help relax things.
If you choose to roll in foam, Horschig warns you to never roll over painful spots on the side of the knee. “Extreme compression on this area of inflammation (where the IT band attaches) could exacerbate your symptoms.”