DIY Iliotibial (IT) Band Foam Roller

If you’ve been to a physical therapist for consultation or treatment of a sports related injury, you’ve likely noticed all of the “toys” strewn about the facility. There are rubber bands, sticks, balls, straps, benches, and other colorful items.

In a recent visit to a physical therapist for an Iliotibial (IT) Band problem, the therapist introduced me to an IT band foam roller. This is a hard, closed-cell foam tube about 6 inches in diameter and 2 or 3 feet long. It is designed to massage your outer thigh and help prevent the pain associated with your IT band rubbing against your femur near your knee. I was instructed on how to use the roller and trusted that it might help with pain I experience from running.DoubleFun Funnoodle IT Band Roller

Rather than to initiate daily visits to a PT, I made a mental note on the size and shape of the IT Band foam roller and decided to make my own for home use. The first thing that came to mind was a Funnoodle. These are the colorful foam tubes sold as a pool toys. But, I recalled that Funnoodles have a diameter too small to match the roller at the therapist’s office.

I visited my local Meijer to look for other pool or boating devices that might suffice. It turns out that Jakks Pacific, Inc. produces the DoubleFun Funnoodle toy that I thought would do the trick. It consists of a standard foam Funnoodle with two larger diameter cylinders on each end – not unlike a pugil stick. The foam seemed to have the appropriate firmness as well, so I bought one.

Back at home, I noticed that with a little pressure the Funnoodle collapsed in the center. No, problem… I had an old broom with a wooden handle that I could stuff in the hole to help hold it’s shape. So, with that confidence, I trekked into my garage and sawed off both ends of the Funnoodle. Then I measured and cut a length of broom stick that would fit inside each end-piece.DoubleFun Funnoodle IT Band Roller

I tried my new DIY IT Band Foam Roller on a hard surface in my house and it worked! It felt exactly the same as what I felt at the therapists. The DoubleFun Funnoodle cost $8 and I was able to make two IT band foam rollers from it. Compare this to single IT band rollers that cost anywhere from $10 to $40 each. (See PerformBetter.com.)

It’s been said that when looking for an IT band foam roller you want to find one with a really strong core. Through regular use, the foam will break down and lose it’s effectiveness. Hopefully with a wood core, the Funnoodle roller will last a while. I’ve also heard of particulary masochistic people using Nalgene bottles. I think if you’re thigh is bruised from rolling on something like a Nalgene bottle, it’s time to start rethinking your therapy.

Sports Center Austin offers an alternative viewpoint on the source of IT band pain in this article: Stubborn Iliotibial Band, and Part II, As the Hip Turns.  As always, consult a physician before trying any physical therapy or exercises.


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3 Responses to “DIY Iliotibial (IT) Band Foam Roller”

  1. marathon halfie Says:

    that is truely ingenious! i look forward to more of your DIY ideas!!!


  2. You could also try some 100mm (4 inch) PVC sewer pipe with a towel wrapped around it (secure it with string). If you’re just starting, try 2 towels to make it softer.

    Does anybody know for how long you should do this exercise continuously (every day)? A month or just a couple of weeks maybe?


  3. Hi to every one, the contents existing at this web site are actually remarkable for people knowledge, well, keep up the good work fellows.


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