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  1. #1
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    Very tight quad muscles and IT band

    I use a foam roller and a massage stick to work on my quads and IT band on a daily basis. Yet they remain extremely tight - especially the vastus lateralis, medialis and IT band - rolling and massage always hurt (you know, the good hurt of massage).

    What else can I do to relieve the tension in these muscles? Maybe some other muscles are weak and are causing the affected muscles to overwork?

  2. #2
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    You need to stretch. One of the best stretches for the quads is to kneel, top of your feet facing the floor, and sit on your heels. If you can't sit on your hills, work on it. Next, if you can do this, then lower your back and head to the floor towards your heels. That will give you more of a stretch.

    To stretch the back of your legs, stand straight, keep your back straight, hold a barbell, without weights at first, bend at the waist keeping your back straight, bend to the floor, legs straight. This will stretch the back of your lower and upper legs, hamstrings, etc. including the tendons. Be careful about stretching any tendons as they stretch slowly and little.

  3. #3
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    I've read that you can only stretch the rectus femoris, and not the other three muscles comprising the quads: link.

    That said, I can't get very close to my heels per your stretch, so the femoris probably needs quite a bit of stretching anyway.

  4. #4
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    I've been getting Rolfed (structural integration) over the last few years. My IT bands and quads have loosened up noticeably.

  5. #5
    Eddy 53:11
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    Exactly how long have you been at the roller and stick? I have both. I loosened
    my IT band within 2-3 weeks with mostly the roller and a bit with the stick.

    If you just started, keep at it, it worked for me. Although I don't really know why
    I wanted my IT band loosened . . . . . .
    Live vicariously through yourself.
    There are no physical laws that govern the will.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by serpico7
    Maybe some other muscles are weak and are causing the affected muscles to overwork?
    That's possible, my gluteus medius (side butt) were really weak and my quads were pretty tight, that caused some knee cap issues.
    :
    I'd recommend PT, ultra-sound massage is awesome and iontophoresis is even better

  7. #7
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    You need to do an IT band stretch

  8. #8
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    I agree, the best thing you could do would be to focus on stretching. Foam rollers and massage are great for spasms and overworked muscles, but offer very little for structurally tight, short muscles. Tightness in the IT and quads is very common, and can lead to knee pain due to abnormal biomechanics across the knee joint. The idea that the quads cannot be stretched is bunk. They can be stretched quite easily as recommended above. The rectus actually can be MORE difficult to stretch as it is a two joint muscle.

    I would recommend a quick visit to a PT for education on stretching an mechanics. Ultrasound works well as a pre-stretch treatment modality, but is not necessary. Same effect can be had by stretching after taking a hot shower or bath. The heat makes the connective tissue in the superficial muscles a bit more fluid and pliable, enabling a more efficient stretch.

    Good luck.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by JetSpeed
    Exactly how long have you been at the roller and stick?
    Months, usually on a daily basis, and it's helped, but every time I use the roller, the legs hurt from the tightness, that's why I suspect there are some muscle imbalance issues at work.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by threesportsinone
    That's possible, my gluteus medius (side butt) were really weak and my quads were pretty tight, that caused some knee cap issues.
    Yeah, I'm pretty sure my glute medius is relatively weak. Like you, I have some knee issues. What exercises are good for strengthening this muscle?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by kcdoc
    I agree, the best thing you could do would be to focus on stretching. Foam rollers and massage are great for spasms and overworked muscles, but offer very little for structurally tight, short muscles. Tightness in the IT and quads is very common, and can lead to knee pain due to abnormal biomechanics across the knee joint. The idea that the quads cannot be stretched is bunk. They can be stretched quite easily as recommended above. The rectus actually can be MORE difficult to stretch as it is a two joint muscle.

    I would recommend a quick visit to a PT for education on stretching an mechanics. Ultrasound works well as a pre-stretch treatment modality, but is not necessary. Same effect can be had by stretching after taking a hot shower or bath. The heat makes the connective tissue in the superficial muscles a bit more fluid and pliable, enabling a more efficient stretch.

    Good luck.
    Makes sense, and I do have knee pain, so I'll work on stretching the quads. That sitting on heels stretch is tough for me, so I guess that means my quad fibers have gotten short and tight.

    Interesting that you don't buy into the rationale that quads cannot be stretched. Do you have any background in this?

  12. #12
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    I used to have problems because my IT band was pulling my knees out of alignment.
    My wife showed me a couple of stretches and haven't had any problems since.
    I can feel it all the way through my hip when one in the sit-up position.

    http://www.howtostretch.com/iliotibi.htm
    Pass me now and avoid the rush.

  13. #13
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    yeah, dont tell anyone but I am a physician specializing in physical medicine and rehab.
    Another way to stretch quads is to lie on your stomach, wrap a towel around your ankle and pull your heel up to your butt with the towel. Works well and doesnt stress out your ankles.

  14. #14
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    The exercise the kcdoc recommended, I'd rather use that as a partner stretch instead of using a towel. I like to use constant pressure, either my own body weight, someone else's weight, weights, or elastic exercise bands.

  15. #15
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    I agree, lawrence. That is the better way to do it. I like having someone else apply their own weight if possible.

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