As the days start getting shorter and the weather starts to get colder it could only mean one thing…….hockey season starts! For us Canadians hockey is almost a religion. Whether it’s in the driveway with your kids or in a beer league with your buddies. It’s safe to say many of us Canadian dad’s play some form of hockey in the winter. As dad’s start to gather their equipment from last year, they may have not been as active as they would have liked to 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 up 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 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 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?
If you have access to a Registered Massage Therapist you’re golden. Massage work can help a ton. 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 in the area. Allowing an RMT to work on this muscle and other surrounding muscles will be beneficial. After treatment most RMT’s will also provide stretches and exercises for home care in order to combat any muscular imbalances and keep the patients full range of motion.
If you’ve never been treated by an RMT before you should seriously consider it. Depending on where you live, most RMT’s charge affordable rates for half and hour-long sessions.
To all the dumbbell daddies, have a safe and fun hockey season this winter.
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