Sports people are prone to suffering from pain in the hips and knees due to the forces they endure. This can be due to many factors, one being referred pain from trigger points in the thigh muscles, which can be eased with self-myofascial release.
Foam Rolling Your IT Band
By rolling sideways along a foam roller to release these trigger points in the ITB is beneficial, although can be painful in the beginning. If, after a period of rolling, your ITB remains tight, then the issue could be coming from your tensor fasciae latae (TFL) muscle and gluteus maximus.
TFL is a muscle on the side and top of your thigh, and the ITB is its thick tendon. The TFL helps bend the knee and hip; it raises the thigh up, rotates the leg inward and stabilizes the hips while walking and running.
As intense activities can easily overwork the TFL and cause a build-up of trigger points, so can prolonged sitting and sleeping with your knees up, as this position keeps the muscles shortened and supports the formation of trigger points. As a result, you may feel pain in the hip or down the leg and your hips may be stiff. Myofascial release will help to loosen up the TFL muscle and eliminate the trigger points.
Steps to Releasing the TFL Muscle with a Tennis Ball
1. Lie down on the side and place a tennis ball under your hip and start slowly rolling across the hip (note: this can be extremely painful).
2. Each time you find a tender trigger point, stop moving, and let the ball push into it, while relaxing and breathing deeply.
3. When the pain dissipates, move to another spot and repeat until you have covered the entire hip area.
4. Develop the habit of always looking for trigger points in your muscles and eliminating them before they lead to more serious problems.