Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bailing on the Yasso’s – ITB Syndrome?

I slept late again on Tuesday.  I would normally ride the trainer but I wanted to let the legs rest for a little bit longer.  Tuesday is track time.  Those Yasso’s that I have been talking about.

I was to meet Sam out on the trace at lunch.  I got changed and walked towards the trace.  The legs were tired, not hurt.  However, when I started to warm up there was real discomfort.  I ran a little bit further so the legs could work themselves out.  They were not feeling strong but not too bad.  The problem came when I decided to run a few strides.  Massive pain all up and down my outer thigh.  I felt the beginning of this pain on Sunday but was hesitant to mention it.  To me injury equals weakness – I know that is dumb – but …

This is where I have gotten smarter over the years.  I shut it down.  Today’s run workout would be a half mile jog.  I left Sam stranded out on the trace. 

The bad news, this is most likely Iliotibial band syndromeFrom Wikipedia:


ITBS is one of the leading causes of lateral knee pain in runners. The iliotibial band is a superficial thickening of tissue on the outside of the thigh, extending from the outside of the pelvis, over the hip and knee, and inserting just below the knee. The band is crucial to stabilizing the knee during running, moving from behind the femur to the front while walking. The continual rubbing of the band over the lateral femoral epicondyle, combined with the repeated flexion and extension of the knee during running may cause the area to become inflamed.

[edit] Symptoms

ITBS symptoms range from a stinging sensation just above the knee joint (on the outside of the knee or along the entire length of the iliotibial band) to swelling or thickening of the tissue at the point where the band moves over the femur. The pain may not occur immediately during activity, but may intensify over time, especially as the foot strikes the ground. Pain might persist after activity. Pain may also be present below the knee, where the ITB actually attaches to the tibia.

I have the discomfort “on the outside of the knee or along the entire length of the iliotibial band”.  This is an over use injury that can be exacerbated by the following:

Training habits:

  • Always Running on a banked surface (such as the shoulder of a road or an indoor track) bends the downhill leg slightly inward and causes extreme stretching of the band against the femur (THAT’S ME – BUT i TRY TO SWITCH IT UP)
  • Inadequate warm-up or cool-down (THAT’S ME)
  • Excessive up-hill and down-hill running
  • In cycling, having the feet "toed-in" to an excessive angle
  • Running up and down stairs (THAT’S ME)
  • Hiking long distances
  • Rowing

Muscle imbalance:

The good news, this is easily treated with the normal regiment – RICE – rested, iced, compressed and elevated.  Also, NSAID’s (aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen) can be used to help reduce inflammation and discomfort.

After work I took some some of the advice above – the RICE.  I rested, elevated and took ‘The Stick’ to it.  It is kind of like a foam roller.  I used to only use an old rolling pin.  This works a little better.  It does hurt but it feels better later.


medieval torture device


medieval torture device (close up)

I have told countless people the same advice and now I am taking it – no running – 3 days can save you 3 weeks, 3 weeks can save you 3 months.  The tempo run on Thursday in now on questionable status.


misszippy said...

As someone who hasn't run in 5 weeks and is no where ready to return to running, believe me, take the time off. I was stupid--would take a day or two off here or there, got ART, iced, etc., but still pushed through the pain on runs. And here I sit. It's a bear of an injury--keep it at bay!!

Matty O said...

Interesting that I am experiencing the EXACT same thing. I took time off and it did no good for me. I took off over a month, 6 weeks to be exact. I stretched, iced, rested. No dice.

Pain does not equal weakness. Pain is usually caused from NOT being weak and by going out and working your butt off day in and day out. Never ashamed of pain, just of not being able to complete my workouts.

SOOOOO, are you taking the IB Profens too? Finished reading your articles from yesterday and never want to take one again in my life haha.

Keep us posted.

Tri-James said...

I think I will be able to nip this in the bud (3 weeks until my marathon - I was starting the taper anyway).

And no, I do not like to take meds. I will take the NSAIDS if I have to but will prob just go without. The injury only hurts when running and only hurts bad when running fast.

misszippy said...

Forgot to mention (and I'm back 'cause I think about ITB 24/7 these days!) that I'm not entirely sure the bike doesn't cause a bit of irritation too, thereby slowing down healing. Just my theory with myself. Not that I've given up the bike yet, b/c I need SOMETHING to do every day and can't make it to the pool on a daily basis. Ok, I'm done!

Tri-James said...

I did the fancy elliptical today - cybex 750at arc trainer. I did not feel any discomfort.

Happy Feet 26.2 said...

crap! so smart to shut it down.

Francine said...

Take care of yourself. You'll be better soon.

Becky Ryder said...

James - when I last had an IT injury, I did self massage using a hard ball that I had found at Big Buck Sports. It's yellow, about the size of a softball and looks like a large golf ball. I would place the ball against the wall and then do cross friction massage several times a day. That, along with ice, anti-inflammatory meds and the ET seemed to help. I really do think that with this injury, doing equal time/effort on the ET will give you much the same benefits as running. Good luck!

Tri-James said...

Thanks Becky –

Since I am starting my taper I think I will be okay. And although I normally detest the elliptical – I actually like that new fancy one at the gym. You can adjust the speed, resistance and height of the steps. I got a really good workout with no impact yesterday.