Foam Rolling Routine For IT Band Pain & Knee Injury Recovery

Foam Rolling Routine For IT Band Pain & Knee Injury Recovery

FightCamp Trainer Rocky Harris shares a 5-minute foam roller routine to help with knee injury recovery & pain caused by muscle tension in the lower body.

Published: February 16, 2022

Topics: Wellness Tips, Wellness

Author: Raquel "Rocky" Harris

Injuries are frustrating and are something that every athlete, fitness enthusiast, boxer, and average Joe will, at some point, endure. How you react, respond, and recover is what sets you apart. One of the most common injuries that athletes experience is a knee injury, which often occurs when a tight muscle lacks range of motion then pulls on the knee or hip joint to compromise. One of the best ways to counteract a knee injury is to foam role two key areas of the body: your IT bands and your quads.

What is the Iliotibial Band?

The Iliotibial band, more commonly known as the IT Band, is the long thick band of fascia (connective tissue) that extends from lateral iliac crest of the hip (thigh) to the outer portion of the tibia (knee), hence the name “iliotibial.” Over time, this band can become inflamed, especially during athletic training. Friction over the knee joint causes pain on the lateral side of the knee which causes Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS).

What are the quadriceps?

The quadriceps, or quads, are a group of four (4) muscles in your thigh. These muscles are the vastus intermedius, the vastus medialis, the vastus lateralis, and the rectus femoris. Together, these muscles work to extend and flex the leg, and are one of the most powerful muscle groups in the body. Because they are so involved in everyday movements such as walking, standing, and running, they are prone to injury. Some of the most common quad-related injuries are tendonitis, cramps, strains, tears, and pulls.

Today, FightCamp Trainer Rocky Harris will take you through a simple recovery routine that she used to help get herself back into the ring when she had a knee injury. The best part is, all you need is a foam roller. Focus on slow, controlled breaths during each movement to help release tension while rolling.

*If you experience any severe and consistent pain while doing these movements or afterward, consult with a professional health care provider.

5-Minute Foam Rolling Routine For IT Band & Quads

Foam Roller - IT Bands

IT Band Foam Rolling Stretch
  • Place the foam roller horizontally on the ground in front of you

  • Lie your right side of your body on top of the foam roller at hip level, with your right leg out straight and foot off the ground, your right forearm on the ground for balance, and your left foot on the ground

    • Your left foot can be in front of your right leg or behind it, depending on your comfort and pressure needs

  • Slowly begin to “roll” or slide the right side of your thigh down the foam roller, towards your knee then back up to your hip

  • Continue to work your way up and down the roller, with the pressure on your IT band

  • After 1-2 minutes of rolling, switch sides and repeat

Key Rolling Points:

  • This type of self-myofascial release is more commonly known as trigger point therapy

  • The goal is to find sticking or trigger points when foam rolling

  • These trigger points tend to be tender spots caused by trauma, causing the fascia to tear and adhere back together

    • This can lead to muscle stiffness and a lack of range of motion

  • When you find a trigger point doing this routine, stop where the point is, and slowly work it out

    • Rolling in forward-backward motions, side-to-side movements, or small circles are great ways to work out the pain and release the fascia

Foam Roller - Quads

Quads Foam Rolling Stretch
  • Start lying on the ground on your stomach, with your upper body propped up on your forearms

  • Place the foam roller underneath your right quad, around hip height

    • If you have a longer roller, slide it off to the side so only your right leg is underneath it

    • Your left leg should be relaxed, with your knee pointing away from you

  • Slowly start to slide or “roll” your body down towards your feet, stopping right above your knee

  • Continue to work your way up and down your quad, from your hip flexors to the top of your knee

  • After 1-2 minutes of rolling, switch sides and repeat

Key Rolling Points:

  • In order to hit all areas of your quad, it is important to turn your body to work the top (neutral), inner (facing your right side), and outer (facing your left side) portions of the thigh

  • Be sure to stop and “work out” different trigger points that you feel when rolling, just as you did with your IT band

Roll Away The Pain, Recover Stronger

We hope that Rocky’s secrets to knee recovery help alleviate any IT band or quad pain you may be experiencing. As with any type of training, it does take getting used to, but the more you do it, the more you’ll come to love it and the saying, “hurts so good.”

You don't have to wait until an injury occurs to start using a foam roller. These exercises are great to add to your boxing and kickboxing training as a prehab preventative measure–and all it takes is 5 minutes! Plus, if you’re already using a foam roller for your cool down, you can just add in these movements.

Did you enjoy this quick recovery routine and want to know more ways to improve your boxing and kickboxing training? Then check out the FightCamp Blog and YouTube Channel, as we are constantly rolling out new content daily (no pun intended)!

Raquel "Rocky" Harris

Raquel “Rocky” Harris has won titles in Karate, Kickboxing, and Muay Thai. She traveled with Team USA and secured a Gold Medal in her first World Championship tournament. Rocky is an author, screenwriter, fitness model, and FightCamp Trainer. She is also USA Boxing Coach certified.

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