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Knee / IT band pain -- does it get better ? (Read 2992 times)


day after day sameness

    After 4 years or so of no significant problems, I've been knocked down by outer knee pain that a PT diagnosed as IT Band irritation. She had me take some time off, add some new stretches to loosen hamstrings, and the foam roller routines to help break up / loosen up things. This all started in October, and as a result, my training mileage has dropped from 160 - 180+ miles/month to 140 in December, then 130 in January, and slightly back up in Feb to about 145. Late December was the worst, couldn't do anything longer than 4 or so miles without pain at the 6-8 out of 10 level. (for the first time ever, I stopped while on a run and just walked home) I took the last week of December off and started January easy and felt like things were getting better. I went from not being able to go a step over 2.5 - 3 miles running before searing pain set in, and never being able to go back-to-back days to being able to stretch it out to 4 - 8 miles with no real pain (just dull pain). But now I'm stuck there. If I go longer than 5 or 6 miles and push it to 10 or 12, I really can't get away from knee pain the next day whenever I bend my leg (walking down stairs is killer) and have to take 3 or more days off running. I'm frustrated with not getting better. I'm beyond discouraged. The PT and Dr have said it may get better, it may not -- just time will tell. I'm 4 months into this now, and man is it frustrating! I've lost a good amount of my base fitness, and am watching the pace bunny fade into the distance ahead of me. Anyone have real-world experience with how long is normal before this IT band stuff heals? Would a week of complete downtime help or be just a waste of missed 3 or 4 milers ?

    I've done my best to live the right way; I get up every morning and go to work each day...


    Best Present Ever

      I have lots of experience with it. What's worked for me is working with a pt who gave me lots of exercises for my core and my backside, and using the foam roller. The last Runner's World had an article talking to 2 UVA docs, one of which is the sports medicine guy I see and with whom my PT works a lot. The exercises in that article, more or less, are what I do. I went from having debilitating problems if I ran 3 days in a row and not being able to maintain more than 30 miles a week, to running 50 miles total 5-6 days a week. I really wondered if I be able to keep running after nearly 8 weeks off last summer.
      JellyFish


        are you still stretching?? how about your quad's are they tight? I take my thumb and rub down my it band - when it gets tight - or when i'm just sitting around randomly. it doesn't really bother me anymore but as soon as it gets tight I'm always touching it and rubbing it.
          for me resting it did absolutely nothing -- ITBS sidelined me for months, I eventually gave up and I stopped running for 4 weeks and the next run was just as painful as the one before the break. Due to a reccomendation from a local runner I diligently worked a routine of 3x per day of naproxen (dont know why but this worked much better than ibuprofen), this stretch: http://www.rice.edu/~jenky/sports/itband.html , and icing for 15 minutes (I used a bag of frozen shelled peas, could form them to fit around my knee real well), it went away in a week. Then I got ITBS in the other leg a couple of months later, and it was gone in 3 days without reducing mileage by following the same NSAID/stretch/ice protocol.
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            Hi Andy I haven't had experience with ITB problems but my wife has. She struggled with it for months before finding a physio that as well as stretching and massage got her doing lunges and squats to strengthen her legs. Within a month her pain had all but gone. She found that whenever she stopped the exercises the pain would come back within weeks, so now she weight trains at least twice a week making sure she includes squats and lunges each session. Everyone is different so I don't know if it will help you or not, but it may be worth a try. My "favourite" leg exercise is the Bulgarian Split Squat. I don't use dumbbells and totally shred my legs - I can barely walk after 3 sets of 20 reps on each leg. But I'm rather weak and pasty Smile

            Geoff

              Hey, sorry to hear about that. I was just diagnosed with ITBS. Same thing as you, couldn't get over 4 miles w/out sharp stabbing pain in my left knee. I also walked home a few times. Went to the PT and at first he wasn't too helpful. Had me doing the foam roller and such, which was nice but not really seeing results. Then I came in one day and wasn't able to run due to blisters due to a horrible ruck march but anyways, he decided to work with me on lunges and quad strengthenings. He told me I needed to use my butt muscles and hamstrings when I run. So the next day I totally straightened out my posture during my run. LIke my chest is now out to the sky, and I am really focusing on using my quads and not just my calves. Like wow, it really helped! I've run like 4 days in a row now with very little pain! The foam roller is great, still helping, but I'd really recommend doing lunges and squats and such. Good luck!


              Idiot

                Massage and a new pair of shoes worked for me. Good luck, dude.

                I decided that if I'm going to call myself a runner, I should probably run.

                  My "favourite" leg exercise is the Bulgarian Split Squat. I don't use dumbbells and totally shred my legs - I can barely walk after 3 sets of 20 reps on each leg. But I'm rather weak and pasty Smile
                  As much as I like this exercise, if you do it while you have ITBS you will most likely not be able to stand on the first rep.
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                    Sorry to hear that, I had that off and on for about 5 years of high school and college. I was told it was due to a muscle imbalance - the muscles on the outside of my legs were really strong and the ones on the inside of my legs really weak. It also caused patella strain or something like that (same thing was pulling my knee cap out of balance). I tried doing some exercises for them but mostly just lived with it. Most of the time it would stick around for 3 weeks or so then go back to just a dull reminder that I could run through. Now that I'm running again and playing ice hockey, I have no problems. Nothing works your quads and groin like ice skating hard. My friend is a PT and even made a form correction that has all but eliminated my chronic tendonitis (knee) and ankle pain.
                      As much as I like this exercise, if you do it while you have ITBS you will most likely not be able to stand on the first rep.
                      Quite right RB. I should have expanded more. The leg strengthening exercises didn't start until a few weeks into the treatment and the Bulgarian Squats weren't "prescribed" until she was running 15 - 20 minutes without pain. But Andy is running 5-6 miles without pain now so I think getting into some leg strengthening exercises now may help and if started gradually and carefully shouldn't do any harm.

                      Geoff

                        Due to a reccomendation from a local runner I diligently worked a routine of 3x per day of naproxen (dont know why but this worked much better than ibuprofen), this stretch: http://www.rice.edu/~jenky/sports/itband.html , and icing for 15 minutes (I used a bag of frozen shelled peas, could form them to fit around my knee real well), it went away in a week.quote>
                          RunningBEHIND......for how long of a period did you do the naproxen 3x per day? Also, how long did you stretch each time and how many times a day were you stretching.. thanks!
                            for me resting it did absolutely nothing -- ITBS sidelined me for months, I eventually gave up and I stopped running for 4 weeks and the next run was just as painful as the one before the break. Due to a reccomendation from a local runner I diligently worked a routine of 3x per day of naproxen (dont know why but this worked much better than ibuprofen), this stretch: http://www.rice.edu/~jenky/sports/itband.html , and icing for 15 minutes (I used a bag of frozen shelled peas, could form them to fit around my knee real well), it went away in a week. Then I got ITBS in the other leg a couple of months later, and it was gone in 3 days without reducing mileage by following the same NSAID/stretch/ice protocol.
                            +1 to all this advice. Particularly the stretch - it really worked for me too: Resting doesn't help much -although if you have really aggravated it you might need a day off (and some frozen peas). The first time I had this problem it took me weeks of being unable to run more than 3 miles at a time. I know how frustrating it is, especially the feeling that it may not get better. If you want to keep up some mileage then find out how much you can do with it aggravating it and then keep your runs just under this distance but try doing 2 per day with time, and stretching, between. The second time it flared up I knew why (too much downhill running) and what to do and fixed it in a couple of weeks. The third time, at the end of last year, it was due to a couple of dumb moves on my part, but I fixed it in time to run a very respectable 1/2 marathon 9 days later. Good luck, John
                            Goal: Age grade over 80% on a certified course.
                              RunningBEHIND......for how long of a period did you do the naproxen 3x per day? Also, how long did you stretch each time and how many times a day were you stretching.. thanks!
                              About a week. After that it was completely gone. I stretched for probably about 20 seconds per time, three times per day, right before I iced.
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                                I attempted to rest for over 3 weeks after I first encountered ITBS, but then tried to make my return by running the Ragnar Relay (captain no less). 24 hours and 15 miles later, BOTH my knees were shot. I ended up being sidelined for another month and when old habits began to rear their heads, I decided to do some research -- these are two of the more useful sites I discovered. http://www.anaerobic.net/runnersguide.html http://www.nismat.org/ptcor/itb_stretch/ The root causes for me were multiple: 1.) ran with motion control shoes (Kayanos) despite my neutral gait 2.) increased my mileage too quickly without a serious base 3.) increased said mileage in very hilly terrain and 4.) never gave a single thought to strength or stretching routines. Good luck on the recovery!
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