Part 2: It Band Syndrome – Treatment and Therapy
Well hello friends!
What a weekend it has been. I apologize for spamming your instagram feed all weekend with pictures of the race weekend in Toronto but I had so. much. fun! I will post an official recap of the race along with my official race time.
For right now, it’s time to dig back into the IT Band series that I started last week. I got a LOT of response on this post – so many of you have suffered from this and it is not joke. I was sidelined for an entire season in my last year of varsity cross country in university due to this injury, so I am no stranger to it as well.
So, you have felt that stinging pain in the lateral side of your knee or the entire band. Maybe it is even red or swollen. Now what? Start with things that you can do immediately.
This is the hardest piece of advice for runners to follow, but an IT Band injury is not one that you can run through. It will only continue to get worse and each run that you put on it will only delay your injury. It’s simple. If it hurts to run, don’t run.
2. Cross Train: My IT band injury was so severe in 2012 that I was not even able to cycle without pain, but if you are able to get on the bike, give it a try. Another great form of cross training is swimming or pool running. You do not need to stop training during this period, just do not run.
3. Ladies, ditch the heels. I love a good pair of heels as much as the next girl, but standing in shoes that move your feet from their ideal position is going to cause additional stress and inflammation. I actually don’t wear heels through my entire racing season for this reason, but at the very minimum, if you are injured, wear a pair of supportive flats like Vionic.
4. Foam Roll. Make this little critter your best friend. You will spend a LOT of time rolling around on the floor together, so you may as well make peace with it. Roll at intervals. I did 10 minutes in the morning and 10 at night as well as stretching and massaging the area.
4. Sleep More. Any time your body is trying to overcome something whether it is a flu, stress or an injury, sleep is both healing and restorative. Add an extra hour to your nights and reap the benefits of soft tissue healing.
5. Ice the area. Icing the painful area will help relieve the inflammation however, if it is the knee that is sore, be very careful not to put ice directly on the skin. You can do more harm than good if you freeze your knee, so wrap an ice pack in a cloth or apply a cold, wet compress to the area, which will provide the same results.
So you have done everything on the list and it still hurts? It is time to take the next steps:
1. See a physiotherapist. I email my physiotherapist almost weekly to check in with symptoms, training and periodization. It is important to find a professional that you feel comfortable working with and who is knowledgable and helpful. They will check out the area and provide treatments such as acupuncture, electrotherapy (which is much less intimidating than it sounds), strengthening exercises and will work closely with you to get you back on your feet in no time!
2. See a massage therapist. At the end of the day, your fascia just wants to be stripped. Massage therapist was the NUMBER ONE way that I returned to running when I was down and out in 2012. I saw an incredible local therapist who wasn’t afraid to make me writhe in pain and she gave me some incredible stretches that I still do after every run.
Being covered in masseuse bruises not your thing? Consider getting Active Release Techniques.
Good luck recovering!
Check back next Monday for my favourite stretches and strengthening exercises for the IT Band!
Recovered from an IT Band injury? What therapy options am I missing?