IT band syndrome

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jan 10, 2008 7:46 AM GMT
    I was diagnosed with IT band syndrome today in both legs, which would explain my knee pain and pain on the outside of my leg further up. It's worse in one leg, and relatively minor in the other. I'm going to listen to what the p. therapist says...I have some strength indiscrepancies in my right and left legs especially in my quads, and I'm not sure if it's because I'm hurting worse in one than the other.

    Has anyone had this? How long did it take to clear up? I've heard that it lingers with some people for a long time. I don't want to be one of those people so I'll just do what the doctor says and hope for the best I suppose. Any input would be greatly appreciated.
  • Kevin82

    Posts: 273

    Jan 10, 2008 5:07 PM GMT
    Stretch!!!
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    Jan 10, 2008 5:34 PM GMT
    Ask your PT about massage and using a foam roller. I work with people with all sorts of similar pain and the foam roller has be instrumental in getting rid of it. That, combined with a thorough stretching plan, should help loads.
  • auryn

    Posts: 2061

    Jan 10, 2008 5:54 PM GMT
    You'll need a succession of massage, to break up and stretch out the stuck tissue, focusing on your legs (IT band, quads, glutes, hamstrings, and adductors for good measure). The massage therapist and your PT can show you stretches and other things that you can do on your own that will help you heal faster and keep the problem in check.

    As a competitive runner, you should get frequent, effective lower body work to help you keep on top of your game and decrease the risk of injuries like IT Band Syndrome.
  • treader

    Posts: 238

    Jan 10, 2008 10:23 PM GMT

    I had a IT band injury two years ago. I had PT for about two and half months. It took me another two and half months to ease back to my normal running length and pace. Using the foam core roller at home everyday really accelerated my recovery. The PT strongly recommended that I do yoga as well. They were right - many of the stretching exercises that they made me do are integrated into yoga positions. I did a half marathon two months after getting back to my normal routine and beat my previous time. I still use the foam roller and I really love yoga.

    Best of luck to you.
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    Jan 11, 2008 5:03 AM GMT
    Thanks guys. Yep, I've been stretching, and I'm going to try to find a foam roller tomorrow. I know they're used in pilates...where else would you get them a medical supply store maybe?

    2.5 months treader? I guess this is one of those injuries that won't be extremely painful, but will take forever to go away.
  • UStriathlete

    Posts: 320

    Jan 11, 2008 6:00 AM GMT
    trigger point massage, ART active release therapy and muscle activation all work really well. and yes, foam roller is great to do in between massages and therapy.

    work on your muscle imbalances with a good sports chiropractor, with pilates, and yoga. all so look at chirunning.com

    goggles 'massage foam roller' 'muscle activation' and 'active release therapy'
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    Jan 11, 2008 6:54 AM GMT
    You should really try to swim as part of your physical therapy. I wore off some cartilage on my left knee a few years ago training for a marathon and deep powder skiing on double black diamonds. While I could walk without pain, there was a nasty pain when my left foot landed when I tried to run. I got an MRI, and the orthopedic surgeon said that I could still run, but the gap in the cartilage would just inflame the IT band as it passed over my knee mid-stride. So I learned how to swim laps.

    The injury ended up having a silver lining, since I wouldn't have learned to swim laps otherwise. I can still run, although I mostly try to use the elliptical trainer on the flattest-grade setting to avoid inflaming the IT band.

    A number of studies have shown that low impact exercise can actually help an injury. That is certainly my experience -- whenever my knees feel stiffer than normal, I hit the pool and my joints really do feel better afterwards.
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    Jan 15, 2008 5:51 AM GMT
    [quote][cite]I got an MRI, and the orthopedic surgeon said that I could still run, but the gap in the cartilage would just inflame the IT band as it passed over my knee mid-stride.[/quote]

    Man I hope this isn't the case, but I suppose it is possible. I also have runner's knee so my knees are overall not in the best shape period. I'm not the strongest swimmer though, and I have a low attention span with swimming laps. I have the green light to run every other day.

    Thanks for the input guys.
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    Jan 16, 2008 6:32 AM GMT
    By the way, you'll get a lot of bad advice about ITB. One of them is "stretch your IT band." Unfortunately it's collagenous tissue that doesn't really stretch. Rollers are good for the muscles above it. And you can use them for your glutes as well. A lot of ITB stuff is really just tight glutes manifesting as ITB/knee pain. One of the stretches that will help a lot is the one where you lay on your back with one foot on the ground (say your left foot) and then bring your right foot up and cross it over your left knee. Then pull your left leg/knee towards you (which pulls your crossed right leg tight to your body). (It's hard to explain this!!) The point is anything you can do that is a good glute stretch should help you ease off the tension. Foam rollers are great and so are big squishy physio roller balls.

    Be cautious that you don't try "stretch" the IT band itself - remember it's basically non-stretchable.

    In case you get "helpful" advice about the "runner's stretch" where you stand up, cross your feet and slowly rotate and then lean towards the side (away from the sore IT band) - don't bother. You can't stretch the muscles adequately when they're contracting to hold you UP!

    You might also want to see if you can get somebody to do some deep tissue massage in your glutes to further assist.

    Good luck! Injuries suck. But if we listen to them, they teach us a lot about our bodies.

    Troy
  • Artesin

    Posts: 482

    Jan 16, 2008 6:01 PM GMT
    I have something like that. I went to a doctor about it and she said that quad strength needs to be increased. Hamstring stretches, knee cap stretches and v sits should be done religiously and high impact cardio should be limited for a while. A neoprene brace should also be used on a regular basis with an ice pack underneath it for 30 minutes ever few hours. Massage therapists are going to be able to do more than a physical therapist by the way.
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    Jan 16, 2008 6:06 PM GMT
    You can find foam rollers at some sports stores. You can also find them at www.OPTP.com, www.performbetter.com. You'll want to go with the 6" x 36" model. The standard white roller will work fine, but may need to be replaced after several months' use. Anytime I get an ache or pain--especially in the legs or knees--I hop on and get instant relief.
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    Jan 17, 2008 8:24 AM GMT
    Swimming laps was really tough at first, since I loved running, and all of my past swimming had been outside in beautiful lakes...

    I got an underwater mp3 player from Finis and that made swimming much more fun -- load it up with your favorite high BPM dance music and you'll have a blast. I just traded in my old player after 3 years for a discount on the new model (SwiMP3 v2), and it's much better. 256MB is more than enough for any workout I'll ever do.

    Even if you haven't worn off any cartilage, swimming is still a great way to cross train. And it's exercise you can do for the rest of your life -- my 86 year old grandma still swims 6 days a week...

    As with any exercise, it's usually tough the first 15 minutes, but once you get through that its much easier to keep going.
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    Jan 17, 2008 4:19 PM GMT
    Great topic! I have ITBS too and take it as a sign of how drastically I've neglected my lower body. I always thought, "I don't need lower body strength building! I RUN!"

    Does anyone know if the ITBS bands that wrap above the knee work as well? Is this just a temporary band-aid with no real curing power?
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    Jan 18, 2008 4:14 AM GMT
    Treatment of IT band syndrome (or any other musculoskeletal injuries) differ based on etiology. Some can get ITBS due to poor muscle balance. Some may get it due to predispositions such as their physical makeup (increased/decreased angle of hip/leg). Some may get it because of poorly designed training. Some may get it from poorly designed shoes. Some may get it secondary to another injury through compensation. Some can...(haha. I'll stop here before you fall asleep).

    Long story short, the most important thing is to identify the mechanism of the injury and to work on underlying cause(s). Stretch is good only if the cause is tightness, but even so you really need to know where the tightness is. For example, let's say that you have muscles A and B that are related to each other. Tightness is in B is the cause. What would happen if you keep stretching A without knowing any better? You'd be even making it worse.

    So, find a very competent orthopedist, physical therapist, or other health care professionals and have them do a comprehensive screening on you, especially biomechanical assessment. The best treatment for you will be drawn from their findings.
  • gr8hands4you

    Posts: 117

    Jan 21, 2008 8:16 PM GMT
    I read all the comments in this thread and even with my extensive health care background only recommend you get yourself a good sportsmedicine physician. Also physical therapists have massage training. A good physical therapists that continues their education and training is sometimes you best bet to a sucessful recovery.
  • gr8hands4you

    Posts: 117

    Jan 21, 2008 8:32 PM GMT
    A good resource for this is "The Physician and Sportmedicine Online." Mand articles and many sports injuries.
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    Jan 22, 2008 3:21 AM GMT
    [quote][cite]RunningInTheDark said[/cite]Great topic! I have ITBS too and take it as a sign of how drastically I've neglected my lower body. I always thought, "I don't need lower body strength building! I RUN!"[quote]

    Yea, if I had known then what I know now. I feel like an idiot.

    I think there were a number of factors...i know muscle indiscrepancies were one of them, and not having the best pair of shoes for my foot type (I have a very high arch) was probably another. I'm probably overtrained as well...I did a half marathon in early December and didn't back off enough afterward.

    The good news is the therapist said as he was poking/prodding/massaging that the IT band felt much looser in my bad leg, and he thought I was close to being out of the woods. The bad news is I'm still out of commission with my runner's knee. He's giving me the green light to run 3 times a week, and I'm doing that with no worst pain than a tingle in my knees. I consider myself extremely lucky considering the circumstances. My unsolicited advice to everyone is to back off at the onset of actual pain, no matter how minor. If I had tried to tough it out, I probably would've been out of commission for several months.

    Thanks for the input guys.
  • freshf0xy

    Posts: 2

    Jan 24, 2012 7:11 PM GMT
    I recommend the pigeon pose from yoga to stretch the ITB band. It really works. I find foam rollers useful too.
    Try running on the balls of your feet. Changing your style to forefront foot-strike has been beneficial to me as has running in minimal shoes like the Vibram five fingers or Nike frees 3.0.
    I do lots of one legged squats using a chair for balance and I do normal squats facing the wall with my nose, knees and toes pressed against it. I find all of this helpful, but it's a process. I don't think it'll ever be cured as such, it's just something that has to be worked on to make manageable.
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    Feb 22, 2012 1:34 PM GMT
    I've been training for a triathlon and just before Christmas 2011 after I got new running shoes I noticed pain in my left knee going up to my hip during a longer run. I rested for about a month, focusing more on swimming and bicycling. However, the pain would come back every time I ran.

    I went to my running store which exchanged my pair of shoes for a wider size because apparently the ones I got were a bit narrow. I also got information about Active Release Techniques (ART). As soon as I went to a chiropractor who specializes in ART, it helped with my IT band so that I was back to running after a week of sessions. I've been going for about 3-4 weeks so far and it's much better now.

    I've gained about 10 lbs during the last 2 months because I haven't been training as intensely as during the fall. So I'm starting back on my triathlon training and easing into it. To help reduce injuries, I'm alternating strength training with weights 3 times a week and yoga 3 times a week. I'll also go to the chiropractor every other week for an adjustment and some ART.
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    Apr 05, 2013 4:38 AM GMT
    really suffering big time from this lately. This week very bad...physical job at work and at times very painful walking. It has not bothered my leg routine as it does not hurt while doing them but this week may have to skip

    Have to hit the foam roller more and doing some stretches...does ice or heat work at all. Probably going to have to hit the massage guy for the first time in 6 years to help it
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    Apr 05, 2013 2:11 PM GMT
    Oh man, reading the original post brought back HORRIBLE pain memories.

    I sprained my IT Bands back in college (did a run that I had not appropriately trained for), and ended up on crutches for about 6-8 weeks or so. I was on flexoril (sp?) and doing physical therapy 3x a week.

    most painful injury ever. I was so scared to start running again because I was afraid it was going to come back. All in all, I as out of commission for about 3-4 months

    The ironic part is that i had my highest GPA that semester, go fucking figure.

    Anyway, I don't know much about a "syndrome"....I'm alluding to this as something similar to shin splints? (i.e. they come/go if not properly handled?)

    only advice I can give is to just stop running and get physical therapy. at a minimum, lots of stretching, but the PT will help immensely.
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    Apr 06, 2013 8:27 AM GMT
    jerseywoof saidreally suffering big time from this lately. This week very bad...physical job at work and at times very painful walking. It has not bothered my leg routine as it does not hurt while doing them but this week may have to skip

    Have to hit the foam roller more and doing some stretches...does ice or heat work at all. Probably going to have to hit the massage guy for the first time in 6 years to help it


    Heyo,

    So, ITB = overuse injury, either near the knee or near the thigh. Usually biomechanics can also play a role: overpronation of your feet; weak glutes, causing you to internally rotate your femur (thigh bone) during certain activities like jumping or running, so that the IT band rubs over the greater trochanter of your femur; internally rotated tibia or degree of bow-leggedness (genu varum), causing that IT band near the knee to get overly rubbed on during knee movement; tight IT band and/or glute muscles; etc... Just to give you a background on different types of causes...

    Things to do/keep in mind: modify activity, footwear (if a runner, or high mileage in shoes you wear), stretching and strengthening exercises are a must, ice massage, heat, and NSAIDs (short-term use, please) can help. You can use heat and stretch prior to activity (IT band, hammies, quads), and then ice compress/massage afterwards. You can apply the heat before/during your stretching for up to 10 minutes, and you ice treatments until the area feels numb or no more than 15 minutes (10 minutes for ice massage; if your pain is in the hip/thigh area, then ice massage won't be of much use b/c of the relative thickness of the soft tissue between the skin and IT band).

    You can also use a TENS unit if you have one (settings: frequency/pulse rate: 50-150 Hz, pulse duration/width: 50-150 microsec (whichever is comfortable), amplitude/intensity just until you feel a tingling, but not strong enough to cause a muscle twitch. Usually, depending on the person, time on can be from 20 to 120 minutes.

    And of course you can massage. You usually want to massage the IT band in its lengthened state (slightly stretched). You can do foam rolling, but it's based on the individual, and there's really no scientific evidence that they work (other than squish stuff in your body). Depending on the etiology or mechanism of injury, treatments will differ. But the modalities above will help with the pain/inflammation at least.

    Hope I have you some info to help yourself.
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    May 13, 2013 4:56 AM GMT
    I didn't read all of the previous messages, but here's my two cents:

    Must do's: Foam roller (http://www.amazon.com/b?ie=UTF8&node=3407871) + Stretching

    The foam roller will hurt like crazy, especially when you start, but it helps immensely. Ease yourself into it by using one leg to support yourself while your other leg is on the roller. After a while, once that no longer hurts, transition to propping both legs up on the roller simultaneously. Spend extra time on the tight spots and make sure that you don't roll past your knees.

    Optional: Yoga, swimming laps, knee brace (if applicable)

    I've heard it rumored that you should avoid downhill running when dealing with IT band problems, but I'm not sure if this is true or what the rationale behind it is, but I thought I'd throw it out there just in case. Good luck!