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IT Band injury-- brutal honesty requested
CREATED: 05/05/09 by racing2009 REPLIES: 10
racing2009's ravatar racing2009    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 36
IT Band injury-- brutal honesty requested
POSTED: 5/05/09 11:06 AM

My IT band (left leg) has been really sore since the GW Parkway Classic. A scheduled light run the following day included wincing knee pain. Since then, I've only done light biking on a trainer (to avoid high gears), yoga, and some foam roller exercises. I've completed no run workouts. I have to walk a minimum of 3 miles a day to commute, so I can't eliminate all activity. Despite cutting back on the workouts, the pain has moved to my thigh/hip area. I'm planning to see a doctor with the goal of getting some PT. Has anyone been through this process before to shed some light on what I can expect to hear about tests that need to be done, getting back into a training schedule, etc? I've got my big race in mid-June and was planning to do the Crystal Ride later this month. Thanks in advance.

charlie's ravatar charlie    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 61
RE: IT Band injury-- brutal honesty requested
POSTED: 5/05/09 11:52 AM

I have been there and can shed some light..

First of all, I am not sure what the thigh/hip problem is, but I had/have an IT band injury as a result of over use in October and it still lingers from time to time to this day..

Stay positive!

I do not think you need to stop training at all. Now would be a great time to start swimming more if you do not already do so. Use swimming as a focus to keep optimism going..

Keep your runs to a minimum - no more than 20 minutes twice a week, with some 20 second pickups in the mix. You can still do slightly longer runs on the weekends, but make sure these are ALL at a low intensity. I'd also take your time on the bike down - or just train in a lower gear to get the miles. Keep the intensity low no matter what.. and if you feel soreness coming back - stop immediately.

Unfortunately, you are going to have to rebuild, but you will be better off for it. I was able to run a race within 2 months so I don't see why you wouldn't be able to compete if your goal is to finish.

What you want to avoid is having this come back. The foam roller is a great tool. Make sure you are rolling your leg everyday for a few minutes, and doing proper stretches for you knee.

I am not an expert but I had a coach get me through this time and it ended up working really well - and I am a much better runner now than I was when I originally had the injury - all is not lost.

Hope this helps a bit

suzkinsky's ravatar suzkinsky    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 121
RE: IT Band injury-- brutal honesty requested
POSTED: 5/05/09 12:01 PM

Ouch, you really ticked it off, huh? You don't want to hear this, but you really should lay off activity that causes pain until the inflammation (pain) goes away. Hopefully that will happen sooner rather than later because it sounds like this is the first instance of pain (e.g., you haven't been training through the pain for weeks on end). Rest, lots of ice, NSAIDs, and the foam roller are all good.

The doctor visit is good. PT may be able to help you release & loosen the IT band and they may also give you other exercises to strengthen the other muscles of the leg so that your IT band isn't taking on all of the running and biking load. If you happen to have some weak abductors, for example, your IT band might be overcompensating. If you can afford it, I would highly recommend a good sports massage session or two and have the therapist really focus on the IT band. You might see immediate results from this.

In my experience, my IT band is aggravated by a few things: during a ramp up of training and running distances; running on a slanted road - you said it's your left leg and if you run on the road facing traffic, your left foot will be striking the ground a little lower than your right, which will stretch that IT band just a bit more; and running on uneven ground.

I can't tell you how soon you'll be able to get back into things. This early in the season, I would NOT train through any pain. Instead, focus on the root cause of the problem and rehab your body. Swim and bike easy if you can. When you feel better, gradually get back into your regular training plan. Follow the 10% rule religiously.

IT pain is very common and very fixable - but also very frustrating to us Type A triathletes. Whenever I have an injury and can't train to my full potential I always remind myself that it's better to hit the starting line slightly undertrained than injured. Good luck!

AndyJB444's ravatar AndyJB444    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 401
RE: IT Band injury-- brutal honesty requested
POSTED: 5/05/09 12:11 PM

Sorry to hear your struggles with ITBS. It is a fickle beast!

I've had it twice before, and for me the only thing that really knocked it out and helped me return to pain-free running was cutting WAY back on running and getting some ultrasound sessions from a PT or licensed Chiro.

Strengthening, ART, foam roller, electro-stim, and stretching just never seemed to cut it for me and I think I needed some aggressive assistance in breaking up any lingering scar tissue/adhesions that kept the pain hanging around. Try it all and see what works maybe...

Don't give up!
Andy B.

bcfrank's ravatar bcfrank    JOINED: 3/23/09    POSTS: 1098
RE: IT Band injury-- brutal honesty requested
POSTED: 5/05/09 1:10 PM

Don't give up... never surrender... and you TOO can look as fit and svelte and in-shape as the cat in Andy's avatar. :)

racing2009's ravatar racing2009    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 36
RE: IT Band injury-- brutal honesty requested
POSTED: 5/05/09 1:16 PM

Thanks everyone for remaining optimistic. Your posts made for good lunch time reading while icing my leg. And since my co-workers keep bringing me chocolate in an effort to ease the pain with food, I may in fact become as "svelte" as Andy's cat. Appreciate the humor. Good luck with all your upcoming races.

michaelrobbins's ravatar michaelrobbins    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 16
RE: IT Band injury-- brutal honesty requested
POSTED: 5/05/09 2:22 PM

It is not uncommon to have another injury present as ITBS - especially with a self-diagnosis. Very important to have a good ortho check you out.

morunner66's ravatar morunner66    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 728
RE: IT Band injury-- brutal honesty requested
POSTED: 5/05/09 2:47 PM

ART Chiro: Dr. Martin Skopp - 1701 Belle View Blvd Alex
703-721-9600. He was one of the ART practioners at the GWP10. If he is not convenient go to Enter zip code on "find a provider".

I've been seeing Dr. Skopp on a regular basis for foot and leg injuries. Could not have started back running without him.

vatriathlete    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 685
RE: IT Band injury-- brutal honesty requested
POSTED: 5/05/09 3:20 PM

brutal honesty, listen to your doctor and see what they say.

if its severe IT then like me when i had this it might be 4-6 weeks of no running/cycling at all. my pt at the time when i had this said "you can ride if you want but you'll be here 8 weeks instead of 5, its up to you".. i chose to not ride and was healed up in 5 weeks of pt 3x week.

honestly if its a severe case you might have to suck it up and realize that the month of may and part of june is shot for running/cycling and you may have change your "peak" races from jun/july to august/sept. i've had to do this before, it happens. as you know part of triathlons is adjusting to conditions, this is no different.

sorry this is not a positive post, but it shows that its more important to heal correclty and possibly miss 3-4 weeks of training rather than "train through it".

personally i use the trigger point massage ball roller as it seems to work better for me than "the stick" or the foam rollers.

trithis73's ravatar trithis73    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 525
RE: IT Band injury-- brutal honesty requested
POSTED: 5/05/09 8:10 PM

Well since I work in PT community and not to mention I suffer from the same thing. All the above mentioned things suggested are correct. I would also include IT band stretches 5-6 time a day at work. When mine flares up I am stretching it every hour. At night I tell people to lay on their bed or couch with their back and shoulders all the way to the edge with the affected leg on top. Then take the affected leg, and put it behind you, and let it drop as far as it will go, and leave it for 3-5 min. You can do this with a heating pad, on low on your hip area. Before doing all this i would utilize the foam roller to work the tissue to loosen it up.
Reason your hip might hurt, is the origin of the IT Band is up in that area, and then it goes all the way down to the outside of the knee, or if you have altered the way you walk, will cause pain in other areas.
All said and done, go see the doc.

cjvanhorne    JOINED: 2/28/09    POSTS: 7
RE: IT Band injury-- brutal honesty requested
POSTED: 5/05/09 9:15 PM

I had IT pain that made me stop running and I asked doctor who recommended rolling the outside of my leg between knee and hip on a hard foam roller and it has worked wonders. Since I have used the foam roller regularly, the IT pain has gone away completely. Hope you have the same luck.

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