Recovery :: Learning how to deal with injury

By Skip

This is an area and a topic I am not too familiar with.   My body is not used to being able to NOT perform the way I want it to.  Therefore I venture into to areas unknown.  My entire life I have been lucky with health and other than the common cold, have never been held back by my body.  Today is a new day.

I need to backup two days to complete this story.  As you know, I have been having some odd foot and knee issues.  Every time I think it is better and I can “tough it out” I go out and things flair up and I am back to where I was.  It has been one step forward, two steps back for the past several weeks.  Two days ago I headed out with my Croatian Sidekick (her new nickname…. from now on maybe just CS?) and I helped her finish off her day of c25k workout.   Everything felt fine so after the main workout I did a couple 100 meter sprints just to see how I felt.  My foot was KILLING ME after that.  I decided that tomorrow would be a new day and a better day for running.

So yesterday I woke up and everything felt great again.  I headed out for a 7 mile “out and back” and about two miles into the run I started to feel things heat up again.  I dialed my pace back but things progressively got worse.  By the time I got back home I got to a point where I had to stop because I could not run any more.  When I DID stop, I could not even WALK.  My leg kind of seized up and was so painful that I dragged my leg home very, very slowly.

When my wife opened the door and asked me how my run was and she was shocked that I didn’t have my normal smile or my look of exhilaration that I normally have.  Instead I stood there with a frown and a slight grimace from pain.  I spent the night icing my knee until it was good enough to head to bed without taking pills.  Not good.

This morning I woke up and, yes, my knee felt rough but it was not as bad as yesterday.  Since this has been a repetitive pattern for a while now I started to do my research (why didn’t I do this before?) and I discovered that I had Iliotibial Band Syndrome or IT Band Syndrome (ITBS).

The following is what I found from my research.  This information comes from the website Cool Running which is an excellent source for anything running related!

Pain on the outside of your knee (not usually accompanied by swelling or locking). The pain may be sporadic and disappear with rest, only to reoccur suddenly, often at the same point in a run. Depending on the individual, this could happen at four miles, two miles or just 200 yards. The pain often goes away almost immediately after you stop running.

Likely causes:

This is an overuse injury. The iliotibial band is a band of tissue that begins at the outside of the pelvis and extends to the outside part of the knee. The band helps stabilize the knee. If it becomes too short, the band rubs too tightly on the bone of your leg and becomes irritated. The tightness is usually the result of too much strain from overtraining.

Patience. This one takes a while. Give yourself plenty of rest, reduce your miles and ice frequently. You can keep running, but cut your run short as soon as you begin to feel any pain. Cut way back on hill work, and be sure to run on even surfaces. Look into some deep friction massage with a physical therapist.

Try some leg-raise exercises to strengthen your hips and be conscientious about the iliotibial band stretch. You might supplement that stretch with this one, doing it gently but often:

To stretch the IT band of your right leg, stand with your left side facing the wall. Cross your right leg behind your left, while putting your left hand against the wall. Put your weight on the right leg and lean against the wall by pushing your right hip away from the wall. Be sure that your right foot is parallel to the wall during the stretch. You should be able to feel the stretch in your hip and down the IT band (in this case, along the right side of your right leg). Hold for five seconds and do this ten times. For the left leg, do as above, but stand with your right side facing the wall, and put your left leg behind your right.

So everything they talked about in regards to how it happens and when and where it happens… well… I am guilty, guilty and guilty.

To visually explain what this is all about, here is a good video I found:

My take on the cause?  It is a couple of things I think I can narrow it down to.  Number one, taking a month off and just jumping back into things is probably the biggest cause.  The second item is the foot pain I have been having, more than likely, caused some pronation which in turn caused my ITBS.  Tracing all of that back, what is the cause of my foot pain?  The only thing I can really narrow it down to right now would be my running shoes.  They have about 500 miles on them and are showing signs of wear.

Tomorrow I am going to out get some of that runner’s tape and some new running shoes and we will see where that takes us.  I need to keep at it, I just need to do it slowly and smartly..

If you liked that post, then try these...

A devastating shattering of reality on March 19th, 2012

Why race weight? on February 16th, 2012

A big thank you to my 2011 sponsors on January 12th, 2012

Preparing for the big feast on November 17th, 2011

Lack of cardio is killing me! on September 28th, 2011

Filed in: Injury, Running • Friday, January 21st, 2011

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So if you have read any of the blog thus far you know a little bit about me… I can not be told what to do and I push myself about as far as I can be pushed!

But how did I get here and why? Well, that is what this page is about.

I was never really the athletic type. Sure, I played tennis in high school (and quite well, mind you) but running CERTAINLY was never my thing!

The start of 2009 was big for me as I came to the realization that I had put on too much weight over the past 10 years (read more...)