Saturday, August 16, 2008

Dissecting and getting past an IT band injury

Back in April, I had an IT band injury on my left leg. Iliotibial band (or better known as "IT band") syndrome creates a stinging sensation typically on the outside of the knee. I decided to rest and let it heal--an excellent idea.

As we runners tend to self-diagnose and self-treat, I decided to stay with the pack and dissect the underlying issue that caused the IT band injury in the first place.

Here's what I came up with:
  1. It happened not too long after starting to run post-marathon.
  2. Post-marathon runs were more exploratory. I ran roads that I had never run before because I was bored with the standard routes.
  3. Most of those routes had hills--BIG hills.
  4. I ran the hills too fast because I had tended to just muscle through the hills and push through the fatigue.
Once I stopped running hills too fast, the injury went away. I tried using an IT band wrap, but it didn't help at all.

How do I know that the hills were the culprit? I ran in Ireland with a much faster friend and we ran up hills much faster than I should have. The result? IT band problems. How did they go away? Stop running hills so darn fast.

For those of you with IT band issues, Rice University has a nice page with an explanation of the syndrome and suggested stretches to combat it.


ShirleyPerly said...

Great, thanks for posting! I'm sure someone else may find this useful, not only in diagnosing their own IT band problem but realizing that such things can be caused by a combo of things (i.e., physical but also environmental and speed-related).

Petraruns said...

You know you're right - at least for me. Knee and ITB are always tightly linked (hoho) and I was just thinking of racing this weekend but the only one I can still enter is a hilly one - so I'm not going to do it. I will bide my time..