Friday, January 16, 2015

The IT Band Debate

It's amazing how much stress - even when we're not aware that we're dealing with it - can affect our workouts. Every run this week was a dogged internal battle of pure will. Just getting out of the house was a struggle.

To make it worse, a sharp pain in the outside of my knee interrupted the middle of Wednesday's run. My IT band was not happy, and neither was I.
I was torn about how to take care of this. I've been diligent about my leg raises and was sure that I'd been doing enough to prevent a recurrence of this old (old old old) injury. I haven't had IT band pain in years!
Usually, runners rely on foam rolling to cure their IT band pain. It's a joke among athletes that rolling the IT band hurts so good and it's usual to scream during the massage.

However, a couple recent articles suggest that rolling the IT band can actually exacerbate the issue. The IT band doesn't get tight (these articles claim); it simply gets pulled out of sync with your leg movements and needs to be rested and balanced by strengthening your hips and fixing your stride, among other things.

I had this in mind when I rolled on Wednesday night and practiced a little Pigeon Pose. I had it in mind when I rolled Thursday (twice). I didn't want to be doing more damage, but in the past foam rolling has always been so helpful!
Super happy after my run!
Today's run helped make up my mind. I had no pain at all; in fact, I felt so good I tacked on some extra mileage! My pace was steady and everything felt right. I haven't had a run that smooth in weeks!
I guess I had better make sure to foam roll more consistently, because it definitely seemed to make a difference.

Oh, and one final thing. Shortly after finishing my run I received this text:
 
I guess 64 is pretty cold by Florida standards!

Where do you stand on the IT band treatment debate?
 What do you do to prevent injury?
Has your IT band ever given you trouble?

ABK

20 comments:

Bae Jarde Riley said...

Luckily I've never had IT pain!! Glad you had a great run-love those runs that feel so good you aren't ready to stop at the end!! I need to be better about foam rolling...I know my body would really benefit from it if I was just more proactive about doing it!

Girl Goes Running said...

Oh those darn IT bands! I didn't even know I had one until last winter when I also received the stabbing knee pain. :( Rolling, stretching, heating and icing it has helped me like crazy!

Megan @ Meg Go Run said...

I am glad rolling and pigeon pose (LOVE PIGEON POSE!) helped you out! Even tough I suffer from knee/it band stuff, I don't consider myself knowledgeable on the subject because as soon as I think I figured something out, I learn something NEW. One thing I have learned (that I haven't changed my mind on yet!) is that IT band pain is never about the IT band. It is about something else affecting the IT band- which you clearly know since you have been doing leg raises, etc. But if it gets to the point it is affecting your IT band and you are proactive and stretch and roll out the muscle, I don't see what damage it could do? I mean, there is foam rolling and then there is AGGRESSIVE ABUSE lol. I read that article you linked to... sounds like they just wanted a flashy title and wanted athletes to know foam rolling isn't going to get to the ROOT of the problem, gotta work on glute activation too. OOH CAN'T WAIT TO GO DO MY CLAM SHELLS TODAY!!! ;) Thanks for sharing the article, I love reading new stuff!

Courteney O said...

IT band pain is the curse in my side. I have foam rolled in the past but have also been told it's my very weak glute muscles. I'm attempting this year to be more consistent with my glute exercises...I wish the glute would just get strong and stay stong....done!!! So glad it went away quickly for you!

Renee said...

I've struggled with IT Band stuff for 2 years now. What has finally helped me is foam rolling the INSIDE of my thigh and my glutes, strengthening my core and the IT Band Rehab workout from strengthrunning.com <--It took me from so much pain I couldn't run to relatively pain free in 10 days. IT Bands suck, hope the problems stay away!

Kristina @ Blog About Running said...

In a blanket and shaking, hahaha! I can handle the 60s but when we get into the 50s I'm freezing.

SO glad that your IT band issues went away with rolling. I am terrible at foam rolling and hardly ever do it, but I stretch really diligently because my issue is that my left hip frequently gets tight if I don't stretch it *every* day.

Janelle @ Run With No Regrets said...

I've never had any IT band issues, but I do try to roll them when I have my long runs. I'm glad foam rolling helped! Sometimes reading different studies just adds to the confusion and hurts more than it helps. If it works for you, keep doing it!

NotRachem said...

Rolling the IT band really does hurt so good. I am so terrible about stretching and rolling. I am a firm believer that it really does help. I'm glad you had a great run! Those are always needed to remind us why we do this after a string of bad runs.

HoosierRunningMom said...

I had ITBS last summer. I foam rolled, it helped! I feel like my foam roller helps with many things. Keeping things loose and removing the knots helps so so so much!! The best part is you get results quickly. I try to stave off injury by listening to my body. If it hurts during a run I stop, stretch, and move on. If it is down right painful I just stop. It sucks to do but I have learned to start letting my body tell me what to do and things have been going much better!!!

Ali K. said...

It's funny how little time it takes but it's so hard to fit it into my day!

Ali K. said...

Rolling and stretching are definitely helping...maybe I should try some heat therapy too.

Ali K. said...

I agree that IT pain is probably a symptom of a different problem, which is why I do hip exercises. In general I've found my pain has gone away when I'm diligent. I know running on uneven surfaces, too many loops in the same direction, and bridges can exacerbate the problem!

Ali K. said...

I know glute exercises don't take long but they are SO hard to make myself do! I know that clam shells, leg raises, and squats really helped me in the past.

Ali K. said...

Ooh I should try inner-thigh rolling! Thanks for the link!

Ali K. said...

It's funny because I overheat REALLY easily when I exercise so I wear shorts and a tank in the 40s even, but just inside in the AC I get cold SO easily.

Ali K. said...

Agreed, sometimes if you know it's working, sticking with it is just best!

Ali K. said...

I need to be better about stretching after runs!

Ali K. said...

I had to learn that pausing during a run to stretch is normal and good. I used to just want to power through, but I've realized that's not always smart.

Montana Ross said...

I'm a huge fan of Pigeon pose. I usually do that daily to stretch out my muscles. I have rolled my IT band before (most recently after that 10k a week ago) because it was sore and it felt better afterward. But I don't make it a daily practice because I have heard that it's bad for you. Idk...a lot of articles on running are contradictory haha. I've heard running is bad for your knees- but also heard that it can actually be good for your knees. If that's not confusing I don't know what is!

Ali K. said...

It's funny how many articles contradict each other, or how new science basically debunk old beliefs. I've decided that if it seems to work for me, I'll stick with it!