The other fix that fewer of us do is give “love” to our TFL. It’s a tricky little dude and cannot be adequately loved on with a foam roller. The muscle is too small and a foam roller is too large. You need something smaller and more dense to get the TFL. Your options include lacrosse balls, rubber balls, golf balls for the sadists among us, or my offensively boney elbow.
Give yourself a deep “massage” on your IT Band with a foam roller as well as a massage to your TFL with a nice hard ball (lacrosse ball is the best in my opinion). Do this for 2 minutes on each leg before you ride and 2 minutes after. Yes, I’m serious.
The fine print:
The above recommendation comes with a bit of needed forewarning: it freakin’ hurts. Foam rolling and pancaking your TFL feel like many shades of horrible. I know it does – I get paid money to do it to people!
Just keep this in mind: the more it hurts the more necessary it is to achieve optimal balance. It’s only 2 minutes, and it can save your ride.
The wrap up:
That’s enough to start for now. Cycling can be awesome – knee pain, less so. Many of the riders my team and I treat during BRAKING AIDS® Ride are seeing us because of knee pain. Most of them would need us less with the above information. And yes, me telling you this information makes me the worst businessperson of all time. Nonetheless, I’d rather see you on the road than on my table. It’s a better look for you!
In summary, do this every time you ride:
-2 minutes of loving torture to your ITB and TFL
-when riding, PULL on those pedals like you’re getting paid for it
-2 minutes of well-earned ITB/TFL work afterwards
Go out. Ride that bike. Smile. Remember why you’re doing this.
And if your knees get grumpy, my team at Symbio is ready for you, elbows and all…
—Dr. Chad Woodard, PT, DPT, OCS, SCS, CSCS - www.symbiopt.com