As the days start getting shorter and the weather starts to get colder, we realize this is when hockey season starts.
As players start to gather their equipment from last year, they may have not been as active as they would like over the spring and summer months. This may cause muscular imbalances that will affect the efficiency of a player’s stride, which is crucial when wanting maximum agility, speed, and acceleration during play.
A common condition with hockey players is having a tight IT band, which can soon turn itself into an overuse injury called IT band syndrome.
You may be asking what the IT band is, well it’s called the iliotibial band and is made of strong connective tissue that starts at the hip and runs down to the side of your knee and part of your knee cap.
As this tissue gets tight, it can start to jump over the bone in your knee and cause friction to that area which brings about inflammation and pain. This can then affect a hockey player’s stride and proper extension of the legs when skating.
The goal is to allow the hip to have the full range of motion and no restrictions that will hold back the players’ physical ability.
What should I do if I have tight IT bands?
You should see a Registered Massage Therapist about your problem and follow the recommended treatment plan that they suggest. Your RMT will use a variety of different techniques to help loosen any fascial restrictions in the area and help keep the tissue mobile.
A muscle that attaches to the hip and IT band called the tensor fascia latte will also be holding tension, so allowing the therapist to work on this muscle and other surrounding muscles will be beneficial.
After treatment, the therapist will also provide stretches and exercises for home care in order to combat any muscular imbalances and keep the patients’ full range of motion.
Written by: Giancarlo Marcelli, RMT