December 13, 2010

ITB Issues be darned.

Because I didn't get it at first either, 
here is the IT Band exercise by Karen Ward 
that IAWR published on their blog.

Last week I was bitching and moaning taking care of my right knee that has been troubling me since the Maine Coast Half marathon.  So far every run since then has had some type of soreness on the outside my knee starting with mile 2ish and continuing on through my run and still stiff after.  Even going down the stairs was tough for the afternoon and morning after my run.  Ugh.  Not what I want to be dealing with.  

So internet research helped me self-diagnose my issues as ITBS or liotibial band syndrome.  The pain is usually around the knee and doesn't start until a few miles into a run and continues after.  Bingo!  

Now what. 

Cut back mileage. Nope. Didn't solve it. 

Rested for 6 days. Uh-huh. Still there.
Icing. Nope.

Popping ibuprofen. Nada.

Ironically, last week when I was pretty much at my wits end I found additional advice that combined all together, they seemed to help. 

1. Foam roll & massage.
2. Work on your form.  
3. Strengthen the muscle.

If there is an ITB issue, it is there for a reason. Weak muscles or poor form. Check out this pic from my last race and I think I found the culprit. Heel strike. Doh.

So, I checked out Chi Running by Danny Dreyer from the library and I am working on my form.  And I even put the Vibrams (little by little - .5 miles to start today) back in the training rotation. 

Lastly, as perfect timing I got and email with an ITB strengthening exercise from the International Women's Runners Association. WOOT!  It described the issue perfectly, but I had a hard time deciphering how to do it.  I know, I know.  Once our trainer Marc showed me, I figured I could do a little video, which is at the top. 

Here is the description from IAWR.
So, what exercise can you perform to develop running-specific ITB strength and thus eliminate or prevent ITBS?  The “Frankenstein Marching with a Band” exercise, developed Karen Ward, an excellent and creative personal trainer in Atlanta.   What equipment is required? Only a stretch band.
Dr. Anderson: “The drill is straightforward to carry out. To perform Frankenstein Marching, stand on a stretch band, with the handles of the band in your hands and the middle portion of the band directly under the arches of your feet. Cross the band handles in front of you, so that your left hand is now holding the handle which was in your right hand and your right hand is holding the lefts. This will make an X in front of your legs with the band. Then rotate each arm out to the side, so that your thumbs are pointing laterally.  Retract your shoulders, and keep your feet parallel,shoulder-width apart, pointing straight forward. Walk forward briskly with relatively straight legs while maintaining a standing-tall alignment. Keep your head up and pointed straight forward (don’t look at your feet). Avoid the common mistakes associated with Frankenstein Marching – feet turning out as you move forward, distance between feet too small, head directed downward, and shoulders falling forward.
After a few steps, you’ll begin to feel your ITBs zinging eccentrically, but that zinginess and resulting ITB fatigue will be far better for you than the six-week bout of ITBS which Frankenstein Marching can help prevent. Start with 2 X 15 meters (yards) of Frankenstein Marching as part of your warm-up or regular strengthening routine, carry it out a couple of times a week, and progress to 3 X 20 meters with a much-more-resistant stretch band. When you do, you’ll be keeping yourself out of future ITB peril. And while no scientific research has been conducted in this area, the increased control of adduction you’ll gain by strengthening your iliotibial bands should enhance your running economy, an important predictor of running fitness and performance.”
© 2010 Savvy Runner Inc.

In full disclosure let me say that I did not go to the doctor yet, but I feel pretty confident this is what is going on and that my ITBS is mild enough that I can avoid yet another co-pay and increased insurance costs work on fixing it on my own. 

Have you experienced ITBS or a different injury?  What worked for you?


Douglas A. Waltz said...

I had a small cartilage tear in the back of my knee cap forever ago. I started doing an exercise that strengthens the muscles around the knee similar to your Frankenstein March and after a few weeks of it the knee was better supported by strengthened muscles and the knee is fine. OF course the other knee got smacked pretty good a couple of years ago when I flew over my handlebars so it aches when it's cold outside.

trifitmom said...

my knee was bothering me and i believe it was due to my itb band - i did the foam roller and that helped. plus i too am trying for a better stride, and not hitting my heel

Liz D. said...

Thanks for posting this. I'll try the resistance band exercise tomorrow. Also, the foam roller hurts like crazy but man it's working!

susan#'s said...

I'd go with the buckshot approach. Back off on mileage, drugs, foam roller, strengthening, work on form, etc. From my own personal experience, you need to back off more than you think, stretch more than you think and strengthen more than you think.

Good Luck!

jilliusc said...

Love the video!! I suspect I have some mild ITB issues trying to start. I will be trying the "Frankenstein," even if it means my hubby and kids are rolling around on the floor with laughter. (The kids latest is trying to sit on mommy while doing planks. Does not work.)

jin.e.king said...

my itb played up on a mountain marathon last summer, it scared me enough to back off running till this spring. it then went 9.5 miles into a cross country half marathon this weekend. i found your blog from your post on the IAWR site, and want to say thank you for making it so clear! i'm hoping it'll help enough to get me through the mountain marathon when i try again in two months time! finger's crossed!