ITB Syndrome

The majority of my pain is in my knee. Although I can attribute part of that to Runners Knee, it is important not to ignore the ITB Syndrome (Iliotibial Band Syndrome).
According to ITBSyndrome.com (yes, there is a whole forum/blog for this common injury!), it can be classified as:

  • Excessive friction between your Iliotibial Band and your knee joint or hip bone
  • This causes pain at either the side of your knee or the side of your hip (the outside of the knee joint)
  • It’s usually caused by increasing your running or cycling and building up too fast and/or with bad technique
  • ITBS can be associated with other activities such as hiking or weight-lifting (especially squats) but is normally caused by the repetitive action of running/biking
  • Most commonly occurs in the knees (one or both knees), but can also appear at the hip joint. This is not uncommon at pregnancy, where the tendons can loosen a bit and the weight distribution shifts.

Umm remember that time I tripled my mileage?  Well that was just plain stupid. Don’t do it. Duh.

So when I first read about ITBS, I read, “As a general rule – if you feel pain on the outside of your knee – stop running immediately.” Hence my crying, pouting, worrying etc. However, they meant literally while you’re running. Duh, again. I talked to my physical therapist and he said yes, I can still run and continue training, especially since the band is not actually torn. I just have to be smart about it. Whew. Ok. I can handle that.

Other things they recommend?

  • Check your shoes and get new ones if yours are worn out or not supporting your stride correctly. Check! They should be arriving in the mail any day now!
  • Stretch and strengthen. Check!

My bedroom floor is officially converted into my yoga mat until further notice.

Here are two stretches I have found helpful so far:

(above image) Cross one foot in front of the other and bend the front knee. Then stretch your upper body to the side that your front foot is crossed to. (If your left foot is in front, stretch to the right) I struggled with this one at first but eventually learned that to really feel the stretch you have to stretch your front foot across your body even further and bend your knee deeper until you feel it.

Sorry for the weird angle, taking self portraits of weird positions is difficult!

(above image) Lay on your back with your knees bent. Lean both legs to one side and rest your outer foot on top of the other knee. Gently push down towards the floor with your foot.

Even if you have ITBS in one side, make sure to do these exercises in both legs to even it out. It is also suggested you ice your ITB regularly, especially after running or exercise. I’m icing as I write this post, in fact πŸ™‚

Again, when I find more stretches and exercises that help me, I will be sure to post about them. I’m really counting on a dedicated regimen of healing techniques to prevent further injury and to help the rest of training continue smoothly.

Thankfully, I discovered all of this with enough time to combat it easily enough. It’s much better than a broken femur the week or day before the race, right? See what a good night’s rest has done to my attitude? I’m much calmer, more positive, and happier. Whew πŸ™‚

Happy Hump Day Everyone!

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3 Responses to ITB Syndrome

  1. Good luck on your recovery!! I was out for 1.5 years with ITB (sorry to mention a horror story!). I didn't know about the injury back then. and it felt like a hammer hitting the side of my knee. I ran through it (smart eh), then got worse. That combined with a crappy PT slowed by recovery, but in a silver lining kind of way- I am a much smarter runner these days. I force myself to take rest days, I stretch, I ice etc.. I think you will be back running in no time πŸ™‚

  2. Katie says:

    Oh my goodness, 1.5 years?! YIKES! My physical therapist said I could still run on it so hopefully it doesn't get worse! Fortunately I'm resting, stretching and icing like it's my job. Thank goodness your ITB finally healed! Tonight is my first run. It's minor but I'm hoping it's easy enough.

  3. Amanda says:

    Glad there are some easy fixes and you're doing them πŸ™‚

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