Injured with IT band syndrome

I took five weeks off from running after finishing Kustmarathon Zeeland in October. There was this nagging pain and tightness in my knees. It was manageable during the training but never really go away. I thought that a month of rest and regular massage during my holiday would heal whatever injury I sustained. But the tightness remained. After an otherwise pain-free 10 kilometers two weeks ago, I was limping up and down the stairs. It was time to finally visit the physiotherapist.

The diagnosis was the dreaded ilitiobial band syndrome (ITBS), an injury so common that it affects at least 12% of runners. The literature on IT band syndrome however is so conflicting if not confusing.

My own physiotherapist wasn’t clear either and I wasn’t very confident by his plan of treatment (or rather, the lack of it). Thankfully the internet is ripe with articles on how to beat ITBS. I found two particularly interesting approach at the websites of ncbi and longrunliving.com.

The plan

Based from the two articles above, I thought  that my best bet to get rid of this injury is a multi-faceted approach that involves lots of massages, daily stretching and a disciplined strength training routine particularly for my glutes.

IT band syndrome is caused by, among other factors, weak butt. I didn’t do much strength training during and after my pregnancy, even when I was training for the Kustmarathon, so I suspect that this laziness has largely contributed to my injury.

I’ve done two acupuncture sessions so far, the first thing that actually crossed my mind when I learned that I have ITBS. Needless to say, I’m not very convinced that my Dutch physiotherapist would be able to help me. But one session with the acupuncturist costs €30/30min so I plan to combine it with Thai massage with my trusted masseuse at once every two weeks.

I am really dreading this injury. It’s not something that can be shaken off easily and it has already cost me 7 weeks of an otherwise early training. If I want to run my next race in spring (in 16 weeks), I need to get rid of this.

Have you ever suffered from IT band syndrome? Any recovery tips?


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