Sunday, February 12, 2012

IT Band Post 1

Getting ITBS

liotibial band syndrome or ITBS is something that many runners get. And I got a bad case of it this year. So, as I work to rehab it and prepare for my next ultra marathon, I thought I would leave some notes here on it.

Now those who know me or my story know that a few years ago the VA doc told me I could not run again because of my knees. And when I tried to run last January after getting fat in grad school I hurt my knees right away. I was continually hurt until March, 2011, when I found barefoot and minimalist running and for the first time was running consistently and pain free. So it is tempting to think I am right back there. No- that was tearing of the meniscus every time I ran more than a mile. This is much less serious and happened after much more mileage.

On New Year's Eve ( the ITBS first appeared after 15 miles in my new NB MT 110s. The reason, I think this appeared 15 miles into a run when I run way further than that is that I was wearing what are heavy duty trail shoes for me on a flat trail. This created a much more unstable foot landing than I am used to in bare feet and my IT band simply was not conditioned to stabilize my knee for that duration. 

I tried a couple different things, including the stick ( and seemed to have it under control in January, but I did still have some issues during the month. I was advised by other runners to take 2 weeks off, but did not and... on mile 2 of Rocky Raccoon (, it popped up again.

The Treatment

So I was having trouble running even a quarter mile and even walking hurt by last Thursday, so I went to my new primary care provider, who I am pretty excited to be seeing. He used to be the primary care doctor for the University of Texas at Austin athletics and is well versed in sports medicine. 

In the same sweet, they have an Airrosti ( treatment center. I have a co-worker who used them a couple years go with great success. Since then our co-pay has gone up, which reminds me I need to rant about preventative vs. reactive medical policies some time (taken multiple grad level medical economics classes and worked for the state health department as a background)... but not for now.  Anyhow.

I had my first treatment on Friday. It was an hour long treatment where the doctor used his hands to dig deep into the IT band. from the hip to the knee. It was pretty rough. The pain was so intense I began feeling my heartbeat in my knee if that makes sense.

After that, they send me to 30 minutes of PT with a lady who taught me how to use a foam roller and then used KT tape to tape up my knee.

What I like about them is that they don't want you to stop being active. They want you to stay active so they can know if what they are doing is actually working. They also made a good case for rolling being more productive when the muscle is warmed up after a run. They used an analogy of rolling warm dough vs. cold dough, which was a bit simple but it worked. 

So after the treatment, I went for a five mile run. I was told as soon as I had pain to stop and do some stretches. These are mostly groin stretches since you can't really stretch the IT band.  So a few times in the run I had a twinge of pain and then kept going.  

Yesterday I was bad about the icing they had told me to do and today felt a little more pain. So I went on a 2 mile run, did a ton of rolling, and iced a couple times. It does feel better.

Logan even got in on the IT band rolling!

So from time to time I will update this. I have another treatment on President's Day. I have the day off and yet scheduled an appointment for 8 AM! What was I thinking?!  And I signed up for a conference that afternoon!! Something is wrong with me...

I have been doing a couple runs, though the twisted ankle has made it a bit more complicated.

A Couple Other Things

So I would like to be ready to start Hells Hills training next week. I am doing a couple things differently. I am not doing a runstreak.  I like the idea of it and will try it again some time, but when I am this early on in my ultra running training, I think rest days are needed. So in addition to all the treatment, I am following the Relentless Forward Progress 50K plan that incorporates rest days. I think this will help me recover and gain some more speed as well.

So there it is. IT Band Recover Post 1

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