Around this time of year we tend to see an increased number of patients with knee pain who stop going to the gym because of injury. If your knee pain is a result of tight and sore leg muscles, you may benefit from the use of a foam roller (you can buy foam rollers from Amazon, or sporting goods stores).
The ITband (ITB) is connective tissue that runs from the outside of your hip down the thigh and attaches down at the outside part of your knee. If the ITB gets tight it may cause decreased mobility of your kneecap, leading to knee pain. There are several different exercises and stretches you can do at home to prevent this from happening. Many people torture themselves by attempting to foam roll their ITB everyday. However, it can get so tight that almost nothing can loosen it up and people may actually cause more pain by attempting to do so. Instead, foam roll your tensor fascia latae or TFL (small muscle on the side of you hip) and glute med (example 1) and distal ITB attachment (example 2 and 3).
Example 1- Foam Rolling TFL (sife of hip) and glute med
1. Lay on your side on a hard surface, like the floor.
2. Place the foam roller under your hip, supporting your body with your hand and side of knee or foot.
3. Using your other leg, gently roll back and forth until you feel the muscle relax.
4. If your muscle is very tight or sore, place your other hand down on the ground to support more weight, taking weight off of your hip.
Example 2- Foam Rolling the Distal ITB at the outside portion of your knee
1. Lay on your side, balancing on your forearm, place the foam roller under the side of your knee.
2. Gently roll the foam roller back and forth. You can use the foot of your other leg to gently rock your body forward and back.
3. For more of a stretch, move from your forearm to your hand (as pictured) placing more weight on the roller.
Example 3- Using a massage stick for distal ITB insertion on the outside of knee
1. Sit down with your leg extended.
2. Use the massage stick to gently roll back and forth on the muscle.
For more information on using the foam roller for knee pain or if your knee pain gets worse, contact your local New Jersey Trinity Rehab!
Disclaimer: These exercises are purely informational and are not intended to be used in place of a diagnosis by your physician.