My IT is BS

First and foremost let me apologize for freaking everyone out with my sappy blog post last week. It was not my intention to incite phone calls and well-being checks from family and friends, although I do appreciate the concern. I’ve always tried to be honest in this space and being honest meant telling you that last weekend sucked. Sometimes days suck and the only thing you can do is just move onto the next one. The good news is the next one is usually better. And this week is no exception. So stick with me as I transition from a sad post to a complaining one. I bet you can hardly wait, can you?

ITBS.

I could think of a lot of things to stand for that acronym right now, but at an early age I learned that if you don’t have anything nice to say, you shouldn’t say anything at all. Pretty sure I learned it from a children’s book but I can only assume it applies to adult-written blog posts as well.

So I’ll focus on the facts. ITBS. A lovely little syndrome that occurs with IT band overuse. What’s an IT band you ask? Let me show you:

Where does the pain make itself at home you ask?

Like an arthritic knee in the middle of a hurricane.

BS.

I’ve dealt with mild IT band issues in past half marathon training, but like most things in my life lately, I somehow managed to send this one to a whole new level. I’m not exactly sure at which point I reached critical mass but over the last 3 weeks I’ve learned than IT band issues are not solved by continuing to run. Can you believe that? One of the most common running injuries can’t be soothed by running? BS. I know, it’s hard to believe I graduated from an accredited university with that kind of thought process. With honors.

But put yourself in my running shoes (the new ones not the ones that hated me) and try to imagine being 4 weeks out from a marathon and not running. OK, maybe you would think after that many miles you would want to do any form of exercise besides running, but if you’re anything like me, the idea of missing that many days of training takes a big hit on your confidence.

Here are a few fun facts I learned from Runner’s World for prevention of ITBS after I was all ready in the thick of it:

Common causes of ITBS
ITB syndrome can result from any activity that causes the leg to turn inward repeatedly. This can include wearing worn-out shoes, running downhill or on banked surfaces (like in San Diego), running too many track workouts in the same direction, or simply running too many miles (define “too many”). Unlike many overuse injuries, however, IT band pain afflicts seasoned runners almost as much as beginners. (are you saying I’m seasoned?) When the iliotibial band comes near the knee, it becomes narrow, and rubbing can occur between the band and the bone. This causes inflammation. Iliotibial Band Syndrome is more common in women, possibly because some women’s hips tilt in a way that causes their knees to turn in. (oh, throw in the gender card why don’t ya)

Here are some steps you can take to prevent iliotibial band syndrome:

  • Most importantly, always decrease your mileage or take a few days off if you feel pain on the outside of your knee. (yeah, about that)
  • Walk a quarter- to half-mile before you start your runs. (holding your garmin watch up to the sky to get signal counts, right?)
  • Make sure your shoes aren’t worn along the outside of the sole. If they are, replace them. (oh I replaced them. Several times)
  • Run in the middle of the road where it’s flat. (in Chicago?)
  • Don’t run on concrete surfaces. (in Chicago?)
  • When running on a track, change directions repeatedly. (in Chicago?)
  • Schedule an evaluation by a podiatrist to see if you need orthotics. (I don’t suppose these apply to a neutral, toe runner)

So after several weeks of travel in which I tried to convince myself that running in new locations was the key to healing my peg leg, I began aggressive rehab treatments.

What type of treatment you ask?

My boyfriend moonlights as a certified athletic trainer for a professional sports team. Well not exactly.  He moonlights as my boyfriend and spends the majority of the week and weekends doing his real job. So when I do have his expertise at my service, I get to enjoy perks like Gatorade samples, suggestions in running form and stretching techniques that make you want to punch someone in the face. I’m luckier than most because if I have questions, concerns or injuries, he is able to help me without a mess of co-pays and referrals. At least I thought I was lucky until he came home with these the other day:

Go ahead and pull your head out of the gutter because these terrifyingly creepy murder-looking tools are supposed to help me rehab my leg faster. After having my first treatment though I can only imagine the former may have been less painful.

Now that I’ve completely grossed you out let’s continue it with some photos, shall we? (warning photos are not suitable for viewing during meal consumption)

Once I got over the shock of those creepy tools, I started the aggressive graston tool therapy, which resulted in this:

IT band syndrome bruise running injury

And I let Matt put that stupid tape from my hip to my ankle that I used to think other runners wore just for show.

IT band syndrome bruise running injury

And I did a lot of yoga. Which helped me with both the stress of not running and the physical need for sweat.

I resorted to aggressive therapy after the I missed the Cara 20-miler last weekend. As you may have read in my last post, I had a rough weekend. I knew my knee wouldn’t hold up for the 20 miles, I missed packet pickup and I was in no state to exercise, but I laced up my shoes and went out to run on my own anyway.

And I struggled. Both physically and mentally. But it wasn’t until I caught up to the race participants around mile 10 and felt both of those struggles at once that I realized it was time to rest. A horribly painful lightbulb if you will. The thought that I wouldn’t be physically or mentally capable on October 13th was the slap in the knee I needed.

And so I sit here with tape down my bruised leg hoping that like a bad weekend, the next few days are better than the last.

I can’t believe I just posted pictures of my bruised leg for all to see.

Have a great weekend!

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6 thoughts on “My IT is BS

  1. Chocolate Covered Race Medals September 28, 2013 at 9:18 am Reply

    Sending a bunch of healthy vibes your way! That sounds like . . . well crappy.

  2. Anonymous September 28, 2013 at 7:06 pm Reply

    From what I’ve learned, i.e. been told, many ITB problems can stem from trigger points both in and around the vastus lateralis. Might give a thought to getting some dry needling done on top of all the stretches and instrument assisted massage. I’ve seen it work several times! Just have to find a PT that has been trained in this technique.

  3. jaredrexclark October 7, 2013 at 8:57 pm Reply

    I am sorry you are having issues that are keeping you from running. The picture of the ITBS band talking did crack me up. I hope your boyfriend can help get you back to running ASAP!!

    You might have something to say about this question…..I have had ITBS/hip issues for a few years now, and was wondering if you thought a chiropractor or an orthopedic might be able to help with my issue/s?

  4. runnermoe October 8, 2013 at 6:01 pm Reply

    Have you tried orthoVISC injections? Its a lubricant for knees..i had IT band friction syndrome and after 1 of 4 injections i had NO pain!! I got the last one last week even though i had no pain…but omg its a miracle. My sports med dr. Uses it on all his runners but no where on the internet does it suggest to use it for IT band. Maybe should give it a go. I know how fristrating it can be!

  5. […] those of you who read my posts like this one and this one, you probably know that my fear came true just weeks before the gun went off for the […]

  6. […] to maintaining your fitness and your motivation. I learned the hard way that if you ignore them, you’ll end up injured or burnt out and ruin all the work you put into your training in the first place. Trust me when I […]

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