Monday, March 26, 2012

IT Band Syndrome & Knee Pain

Hi. My name is Carissa.  I'm a runner and I have IT band syndrome.
I can't run.  Literally right now..I can't run. And it STINKS! I finished 2 half marathons this winter and I did several 3-5 mile runs after my last half, but now I can't run.  I get a sharp pain on the outside of my right knee when I try to run.  Stop running. Pain stops.

I haven't been to a doctor, but after some research and Twitter blasts, I'm pretty sure it's IT Band Syndrome or Iliotibial band syndrome.

Apparently this is not uncommon.  Apparently I have to rest and stretch. Clearly I'm not happy.

IT band syndrome is usually caused by inflammation of the IT band.  It can result from overuse, over training, excessive pronation, pelvic tilt, poor shoes, running on uneven surfaces or having a short leg.  I have a short leg, I pronate, and I just finished a lot of training.
So what do I do now?  

According to my research here are common ways to treat IT band syndrome:
- Rest
- Ice
- Get a sports massage
- Foam rolling focusing on the thigh, calves, and front of hip
- Strengthen your hips with exercises like lying leg raises, 1-legged squats, etc...
- Stretch...A LOT!
- Run backwards...really?

I'm going to not run at all for 2 weeks and stretch and foam roll multiple times daily. 
I'm going to keep lifting, but I will increase my intensity there.  I won't necessarily be lifting heavier, but I'll have less rest and aim to keep my heart rate elevated.  I'll also bike and try to swim.  The rowing machine will become my BFF.

I'm also going to journal my food big time.  Running is a major source of calorie burning for me and without it I need to address my food needs.  I won't need as many carbs or calories as I've been having.  My meals will be need to be carefully thought out and very clean so I maintain my weight.

I'm going to try to not panic.
I was running fine and then 1/2 mile in "bam" knee pain.  I tried to keep going, but my knee seriously couldn't function.  My 3 mile run turned into a 2.5 mile walk full of tears.

Running is so much to me.  It's stress relief, it's my cardio, it's what brings me a lot of personal pride.  I've run since 6th grade and have never, never, never had knee pain.  I'm scared.  It didn't come on slowly.  It came on fast and now I'm sidelined.

I will not panic.  I will not let one activity define my entire fit lifestyle. I have a plan in place, as outlined above, and I'll start recovery now.

Kyle challenged me to see how fit I can be without running.  We're going to do all my weight and body fat measurements and make sure I can maintain my current state from high intensity training and other forms of cardio.

I'm putting my Garmin in the drawer and my foam roller in my living room.  Wish me luck as I tackle my inner IT band demons.

Have you had IT band problems? How did you recover?

Love and scar tissue,
Carissa & Kyle