The foam roll iliotibial band massage (it band massage) and beyond


Use of the foam roller for it band massage is just one aspect of this tool's versatility.   In fact, many of the benefits of massage in general can be redeemed with foam roller use.


As is the case with massage, foam rolling can treat injuries,  enhance performance and improve overall health.  Among the ways foam rolling yields benefit is through scar-tissue management, increased tissue circulation; and contrary to what one might think foam rolling can provide these benefits to more than just the it band.



The foam roller helps ease scar-tissue impairment, in theory, by loosening, eliminating, and preventing scar-tissue.   Just like kneeding and rolling dough to make it more pliable, foam-rolling over stiff scar-tissue seems to make it more pliable.   In this loosening process, it's also suggested that an immune response can be initiated to remove the scar-tissue. ,  Rolling is believed to prevent scar tissue build-up by preventing the solidification of immune remnants.  Performance is enhanced when the body's liberated from tight tissue.


Increased circulation is attributed to massage and rolling because the continual alteration between pressure and release is believed to allow renewed blood flow to the area.  The pressure imposed by massage and rolling likely forces fluid release from compressed tissue.   Release of said pressure is meant to allow influx of new blood. This pressure/release method is similar to wringing old sponge water out so more fluid can be absorbed.  This increases tissue nourishment for better recovery and function


Though the it band is often the tissue most treated by the roller, nearly every muscle group can benefit from foam-rolling.   The following photos depict some additional uses for foam-rolling.





Axillary-area (lats/teres-group/serratus/etc)

Low-back (sacrospinalis)


Hopefully this information encourages broader application of foam-rolling beyond foam roller it band massage.   Just like massage, foam-rolling might improve performance and health. The therapeutic pressure from rolling massage might treat scar-tissue and improve circulation.

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