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IT Band slowing you down?

January 23, 2012

Injuries are part of sports and unfortunately a big part of endurance sports.  You know when you are seriously injured, but what happens when you have one of those annoying, nagging injuries that disrupt your routine?  Most people I know just try to work through them (as do I).   I have had a few of those instances already in this early training season.  First, I strained my left calf ( I attribute it to either a steep down pointed toe position while cycling or an over emphasis on forefront striking and over-utilizing my calf muscles) and now I am dealing with IT Band issues.  I am wondering if my IT Band issues are because I am over compensating because of the left calf.

I am not flexible at all, basically just flexible enough to touch my toes (with a slight knee bend).  Since I have been having issues with the IT Band I have been doing some stretches to help loosen the stabbing pain you get.  For those of you not familiar with the IT Band, it is the superficial thickening of tissue on the outside of the thigh (extending from just outside the pelvis to the knee) (wikipedia.org)  The pain can be stabbing and then can become severe if you try to work through it.  I was running on Saturday and got through 7 miles without pain and all of a sudden the pain appeared and I ended up walk/jogging the remainder of the way home.

According to wikipedia, some common training habits that can cause IT Band issues:

  • Always Running on a banked surface
  • Inadequate warm-up or cool-down
  • Excessive up-hill and down-hill running
  • In cycling, having the feet “toed-in” to an excessive angle
  • Running up and down stairs
  • Hiking long distances
  • Rowing

I have been icing when I get home, keeping it compressed and elevated or can be known as R.I.C.E (rest, ice, compressed, elevated).

Here are some stretches that runningtimes.com suggests to help stretch and strengthen the IT Band:

Foam rollers can be painful when you first start using them, but they help in stretching and loosening the muscles.  You can find them by googling “foam roller” or on amazon.com, but here is a site to become more familiar with the rollers (http://www.power-systems.com/s-67-foam-rollers.aspx?gclid=CPGN29CA5a0CFUSo4Aods1EwtQ)

Stay positive, these nagging injuries happen to everyone and will pass.  Good luck training.

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