Friday, June 7, 2013

Some things I've learned with having IT Band Syndrome

Mine has been a slow recovery in the running department.  The pain has subsided in daily activities, it's just when I attempt to run. This has been the most frustrating part..I'm off work for the Summer & I so badly want to RUN! I'm itching to run!

I had an MRI done on Monday and returned to my Orthopedic doctor yesterday for the results. I was hoping for better news like "You're free & clear to run like you normally do!", but unfortunately that wasn't the case. On a positive note, my MRI showed no tears, but it did show that I still had some inflammation on the outside of my knee. The doctor started me on an anti-inflammatory to help with the pain. He told me I could attempt to run, but I needed to listen to my body & not push through the pain...if it hurt, I needed to walk. He even told me that I may have to start with a Couch to 5k program once the pain subsides. This frustrates me more than you know...knowing how far I've come...2 half-marathons & a 10-miler! Such is the life of a runner.

Anyhow, the doctor sent me downstairs to their Physical Therapy department. The PT that worked with me, had me run on the treadmill while he videoed (keep in mind this was the 1st attempt at running in 2 weeks). He told me that my gait looked fine & my pelvis wasn't dropping. The only thing he really noticed was that I wasn't getting full range of motion with my right leg, which is the one that's injured.

The PT also checked my flexibility & discovered my hamstrings were really tight. So he showed me some stretching exercises I could do to loosen up my hamstrings. He also showed me a few other stretches & strengthening exercises I need to be doing. For the most part, he told me I was heading in the right direction with all the exercises I'm doing. So I will continue to be diligent with them.

So I'd like to share some of the things I've learned along the way:
  • invest in a foam roller (luckily I have 2 different kinds...I prefer the "Y" roller)
  • you need to do some form of cross-training (I love yoga & pilates, I've discovered that cycling doesn't bother my knee, and swimming...though haven't gotten to do much since pool just cleared up & water is VERY chilly)
  • strength training is a MUST (this is where my problem stems from): hips (the one emphasized most by PT), glutes, & quads
  • hamstring stretches wouldn't hurt
  • PATIENCE ('d think being a teacher I'd have all the patience in the world)
One of the strengthening exercises I learned in PT was Cumerford Hip Progressions aka Clamshells & Reverse Clamshells. In the following video Chris Johnson PT (recommended videos by PT I saw yesterday), only shows regular clamshells. The reverse clamshells are done with the band around your ankles, keeping your knees together you lift your top foot.
**I do 30 reps of reg. clams & hold for 5 seconds. You don't hold the reverse clams.
I do a lot of the exercises from the following video, as well. Here's the full page with explanation (

Four Point IT Band Stretch: This was one introduced to me yesterday. I'll have to do this one at the gym since I don't have a bench to do it on.
Tight hamstrings? Here's a great  10 minute hamstring stretching video from Runner's World ( **#5 The Strap Series was recommended by the PT yesterday.
Here's another great page from Runner's World about ITBS with videos for foam rolling & strengthening exercises (

To sum it up...I was only able to do a 5 minute run this's progress, but it's SLOW! I still do all my exercises R-E-L-I-G-I-O-U-S-L-Y!


  1. Jennifer, you have a great attitude. Your ability to stick with your rehab and focus on getting back to running is awesome. I know you're dying to run, and everyone better watch out when you're back :) you will be fierce!

    1. My former trainer at the gym doesn't call me "Go Gettah" for nothing! I just call it stubbornness! By gosh, when I do come back, I BETTER come back stronger! Just hate that I'm losing all that endurance & will have to start all over. I have definitely learned a lot. Thanks for the words of encouragement! :)

  2. What a great post, lots of information, thank you for putting it together! Wishing you patience and an smooth journey to recovery!

    Anda @

    1. Thanks! Just hoping others get something out of it. I used to strength train & got away from I'm really understanding the importance of it. I definitely won't make the same mistakes again. Not only does ITBS affect a person physically, but mentally & emotionally.

  3. Hi there! Just found your blog! I'm a teacher-runner too--AND I've been battling ITBS for over 2 years. Must have been destiny to find you! I swear by the stick, foam rolling, and rock tape. Hang in there! Looking forward to following your blog!

    ~Amy @

  4. Hey Amy! Oh goodness! 2 years??? I hope it doesn't take that long! I LOVE The Stick! And tape is my best friend as well, though it doesn't help with the grinding feeling on the outside of the knee. It worked wonders when I was having ankle issues, once I learned that you had to round the edges. :) Thanks for following!