In order to be more effective at releasing tension on the outside of the leg and ease pain on the outside of the knee, it could be argued that performing trigger point release on the TFL and surrounding gluteal muscles that also attach into the ITB, would be a far more effective option. In the eyes of many sports physiotherapist’s though, this is a good method for pain relief but usually does not provide a long term preventative option.
Has foam rolling your ITB ever given you lasting relief and prevented these issues from arising in the future?
The answer for most people again, is probably no. One of the most common causes for pain on the outside of the knee and in the general area of the ITB is that the TFL/ITB complex is having to do far too much work than it was designed for during activities such as running. On examination, it is nearly always evident that the gluteals and other hip stabilising muscles aren’t pulling their weight. This can lead to an excessive amount of lumbo-pelvic movement (back and hip movement) during walking and running placing too much load through the TFL and ITB. During this excess movement, the TFL may have to compensate and perform a lot of the gross stability work at the hip resulting in constantly high stress through this relatively small muscle and its ITB insertion down the chain, also known as knee pain!
So next time you have ITB pain on the outside of your knee, it may be worthwhile to try some hip or lumbo-pelvic control exercises aimed at the gluteals to treat the underlying cause rather than spend your whole athletic career chasing pain!
Finally, in answer to the initial question posed, like lead based paint, foam rolling the ITB will soon be a thing of the past!