Pain is something that can really focus the mind.
But usually – especially when it comes to the gradual onset of pain, like in overuse injuries or seemingly random pains that appear from nowhere, pain is just your body’s way of telling you that there’s a problem.
It can’t tell you WHERE that problem is coming from, just that there IS one.I guess it’s a bit like when a baby cries.
Babies don’t yet have any other means of communicating what the problem is, so they cry for everything – it’s up to you to figure out what’s wrong.
Are they hungry?
Are they tired?
Are they wet?
Are they teething?
All these questions can lead you to taking some action to check if that’s the problem.
The answers you get will determine what happens next.
If the baby doesn’t take food when you offer it, you know they’re not hungry so you move to the next question on the list.
It’s exactly the same with injuries and other nagging aches and pains in your body.
Your body can’t say “Hey, my adductors are too tight and it’s yanking on my IT Band which is making my knee hurt – sort it out will ya?”
All it can do is indicate where the pain is – it’s up to us to determine where the PROBLEM is.
Luckily, just like learning a baby’s routine will help you deduce which is the most likely problem and give you a better chance of getting it right first time, your body has an order we can follow for the best chance of success.
A lot of the time you’ll hear me say that the pain isn’t where the problem is – and that’s very often true, but sometimes we do have to venture close to the symptom eventually…
In the case of IT Band tightness, the symptom is tightness down the outside of the thigh (and eventually pain on the outside of the knee) but the biggest problem isn’t the IT Band itself, it’s the positioning (and movement) of the thigh bone head inside the hip socket.
To reposition it, we need to follow a little routine of tightness unwinding to allow an increased opportunity for hip movement in these directions:
1. Adductors (inside thigh) + rotation
2. Hip Flexors (crease of the hip) + forwards/backwards
3. Outside of the hip + side to side
By unwinding the adductors first, we can stop the inward rotation of the thigh bone which is causing the IT Band to become overstretched and tight.
Then, the hip flexors have more space to move and by also loosening these we can stop the IT Band being overstretched from any forward tilting of the pelvis.
Then, once we’ve reduced the tension through the IT Band, we can work on improving the length of the muscles that allow the hip to move sideways (in particular TFL – a muscle that sits in the same place as the front pocket of your trousers), which also pull the IT Band into an overstretched position.
And it’s THIS last one that most people miss out in their efforts to loosen their IT Bands.
To some people, this process might sound technical, but the simple way to get to all these places in your body is just to vary the position of your foot and/or your upper body.
Take the Hip Flexors 5 Ways video in your FREE mostmotion® account for example.
The foot position change gets to all different areas of your hip in just a couple of minutes, but if you want to get REALLY deep into all those areas of the hip – add some upper body rotation while you do the video!
Simply turn as far as you feel comfortable and hold that position (you can even hold onto something if you need to) while you follow along with the video.
Go on, give it a try!
Simply enter your details below to get access to the Hip Flexors 5 Ways Video – give it a try and let me know how you get on.
Did it make a big difference for you?
Drop your comments below and tell me – I really wanna know!
P.S. If you can think of someone you know that’s struggling to shift IT Band tightness, or a nagging pain on the outside of the knee, share this article with them – you never know how much it might help!