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IT Band Pain? Think TFL

Nearly everyone that has participated in distance running, or functional training has likely experienced hip discomfort at some point either in training or competition. Many people are quick to blame their IT Band, and proceed to beat the tissue to a pulp via their foam roller, dog toys, spoons, baseballs.. I have heard it all.

While there is some benefit to rolling out the vastus lateralis (under the IT band), foam rolling is highly over rated. A bit about the anatomy: The IT Band, short for iliotibial band, is actually not a muscle but fascia. Actually, it’s one of the largest pieces of fascia in the body.The purpose of this fascial sling is to provide spring during gait , and it is also thought to help to stabilize the hip. The point is the IT band is not the enemy, in fact you may be abusing an already over worked piece of tissue.

What is the TFL? The TFL short for Tensor Fasciae Latae is a small triangular shaped muscle. If you have hip pain right now I would bet it is tender. To find the muscle, locate the pointy bone just anterior and lateral to your belt line, this is known as your ASIS. From this point work your way around your waist line and you may notice some tenderness between your hip flexors and glutes, this is where the TFL muscle lies. This muscle will insert on the IT band and serve to regulate length and tonus of the band. Along with aiding in hip flexion and internal rotation, the TFL muscle is also a hip stabilizer (think alignment on a car).

Why the TFL? If you follow along my blog you know that I believe many of our muscluloskeletal problems come from lifestyle, and poor or incorrect posture causing excessive wear and tear. The same can be true here, when we adapt to a sitting posture (if you commute an hour each way to work and then sit at a desk all day, this is you). The hip flexor’s become excessively tight as well as the lower back muscles. On the other end, the glutes and abs become neurologically inhibited due to the fact that they are not needed when you are sitting. The problem is, when you do run, or get active these muscles forget to do their job. Fortunately (and unfortunately) the TFL is already in a “hyperactive” state due to being shortened (contracted) all day. This means that this muscle is now doing all of the stabilizing work of the glutes. I like to use the analogy the TFL is like a VW trying to pull a an eighteen wheeler. It simply is not possible without harm.

So there you have it, now give that IT band a rest!

We have great success resolving hip pain for many people. Call or Contact Us online and see how we can help you: (781) 460-0939

Keep Moving.

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com

3 Exercises Every CrossFit Athlete Should Be Doing

CrossFit has certainly become very popular in the recent years, and for good reason, it is a very time efficient way to build muscle and burn body fat! With fatigue however comes laxity in form. This can be a recipe for injury, but it doesn’t have to be.

The amount of mobility required to complete many of the movements is lacking in many athletes; especially beginners. These problems stem mainly from lifestyle. Many of us sit at a desk all day, or have jobs that have altered our posture. This rounded posture that many of us develop may lead to shoulder, hip, or lower back issues.

Though CrossFit does a fantastic job of targeting your “functional fitness” goals, muscle activation is lacking in many athletes which will lead to compensation, and eventually injury. Try these 3 exercises below that target key areas in the shoulders, back, and hips and stay injury free.

1.) Seated Rows- Due to the explosiveness of many moves, and the focus on the entire kinetic system, the rhomboids are one muscle that is often forgotten about. This muscle group in particular is responsible for scapular retraction. Scapular retraction must occur in over-head movements in order for the shoulder to move impingement free. An extremely affective way to strengthen and activate the rhomboids is through the seated row, with a focus on pinching the shoulder blades together.
2.) Face-Pulls– The rear-deltoids are another group that is responsible for good posture, pulling your shoulder blades back. These are often inhibited by over-active or tight upper traps.  Likewise, in order for the shoulder to stay healthy these must be firing and functioning appropriately.
3.) Planks- Do your knees cave or does your lower back round during your squat? Contrary to popular belief, just because you squat and deadlift does not mean you have a strong core. Planks are a fantastic core activation exercise that address’s the entire circumference of the core (abs, oblique’s, glutes, and lower back).
Give these exercises a try and keep the PR’s rolling!

 

 

Keep Moving.

 

Dr. James Ellis

www.evolvedhealthchiropractic.com

(781) 460-0939