Foam rolling the iliotibibial band (ITB)
The discomfort of doing it might be justifiable if it had any benefit. Unfortunately for those of us who religiously writhe and grimace on these things pre/post workout, it really doesn’t.
“endlessly foam rolling the ITB can not only irritate the fat pad but compresses Vastus lateralis. Focussed soft tissue release should be directed at TFL and Gluteus Medius which act as a direct tensioning to the fascia but no role in the ‘release’ of the fascial band itself”
In addition, a common treatment for ITB friction syndrome (ITBFS) is based on the premise of a bursa located between the ITB and the bony prominence at the end of the femur; the bursae didn’t exist in any of these subjects!
There are better ways of managing lateral knee pain.
Nocicpetive pain aside i.e. due to tissue damage and associated changes, pain is an output influenced by a host of biological, psychological and social factors. Perhaps the more effective management of ITBFS is simply to increase tolerance, desensitise the nervous system with non-painful, non-threatening movements and consider whether supraphysiological overload plays a part as a contributing/causative culprit.
Contemporary evidence appears to favour a different approach: build resilience by gradually increasing mechanical load with the expectation that what was once a painful and threatening movement will be re-integrated as non-painful and non-threatening at the right time, before resuming normal activities.
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” Leonardo da Vinci
Passive treatments are not the answer. No pain, know gain.