If running or doing a marathon round of squats has left you with sore or clicking knees, that pesky ilotibial band is probably to blame. This broad swath of connective tissue that runs from the outside of the hip to the knee sees a lot of action, and a little massage here can give you much greater mobility.
Fitness instructor Jill Miller demonstrates a therapy ball-assisted massage for this problem area called the IT band meltdown. It's part of the Rx Series class she developed for Equinox gyms.
What it does
The rubber balls dig deeper than does a foam roller into the fascia to loosen up tight spots.
What to do
Lie down on your left side, propped up on your elbow, and place the two therapy balls underneath your left thigh like a tuxedo stripe. Bend your right leg and place it on the ground behind your left. Move the balls horizontally across the tight areas in the tissue by bending the left leg into the back of the mat and then straightening it out in front of you.
Move the balls across areas that feel particularly sore. This will be somewhat unpleasant, Miller says.
If you have neck problems, you can do the massage with your head on a yoga block or on your arm. And if you want more pressure on the area, you can do the movement with both legs stacked on top of each other. Switch sides, placing the balls under the right thigh.
Perform the move for two to five minutes on each leg.