How A Plunger Can Help With IT Band Issues
There are a lot of reasons I enjoy having Student Physical Therapist complete one of their internships with us. But the biggest reason is I truly learn a lot from having them here. After seeing a few patients with challenging IT Band issues my most recent student did a little research on alternative treatment techniques and he came across this little gem.
Using a sink plunger to distract the IT Band, manual skills are added to break up adhesion between the lateral quadriceps and lateral hamstring muscles. The use of the plunger is similar to the idea of cupping where the soft tissue is distracted and increases blood flow to the area. If you google cupping you can see some pretty horrific pictures of bruising but we found the plugger was much kinder and hasn’t left any bruising to that extreme (although patients do look at as funny the first time we use it with them).
Neither he nor myself take any credit for the creation of this technique but it is something we have found useful and started to add into our clinical practice.
Treatment tips for IT Band tightness
-lots of lotion to create a good seal to get good suction with the plunger
-slowly move the plunger up/down IT Band to the desired spot
-pull up on the plunger to distract the IT Band then you can use soft tissue mobilization on quadricep and/or hamstring
-add knee flexion/extension while treating
*We will say that it must be a sink plunger for correct sizing and we prefer to use a brand new clean one 🙂
Thanks for reading!