Wednesday 6 April 2011

My Iliotibial Band Problem (1)

As you may have spotted from previous posts, I have recently developed Iliotibial Band Syndrome in my right leg. In the past it has always been my left leg that has suffered. Somehow I have managed to get over the pain in the left leg but I'm not completely sure what I did that helped.

I am feeling very frustrated as the weather has been great and all I want to do is get out and run. However I am being sensible and forcing myself to take a break from running.

From what I have read the pain comes from the fact that the IT band is 'pulled too tightly causing it to rub over the femoral condyle (bone) and\or the bursa.' - Taken from this helpful post, it also contains links to exercises.

The following 'could' be reasons for the pain. I have highlighted which ones I think are most likely. But this is just what I think is most likely, in reality I really don't know what has caused it.

From Wikipedia:

LinkTraining habits:

  • 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
  • (added by me) Increasing distance too quickly

Abnormalities in leg/feet anatomy:

  • High or low arches
  • Supination of the foot
  • Excessive lower leg rotation due to over-pronation
  • The force at the knee when the foot strikes
  • Uneven leg length
  • Bowlegs or tightness about the iliotibial band.

Muscle imbalance:

  • Weak hip abductor muscles
  • Weak/non-firing multifidus muscle

Points to Note:
  • I have a new pair of trail running shoes. (Although, I haven't had pain while wearing them)
  • I recently took part in a 10km race on a very hilly course.
  • There were a few runs where I may not have stretched quite as thoroughly as usual.
  • I haven't raised my mileage in the last few weeks, but have started the year with more miles per week than at the end of last year. (Could this be it? Maybe taken a while to catch up with me?)
  • The pavements I run on are not the flatest, but I have been attempting to run on the roads with the least amount of uneven surfaces. I have been trying to make sure it's not always the same leg that encounters the banked/cambered surface.
  • Over the last few months I have been trying to run slower, maybe this has had an effect on my running form.

What Now?
  • Initial Rest Period (No running and Daily Stretching)
  • Start Running but keep them short (under 4km to start with)
  • Stretch Well
  • Use a Foam Roller (awaiting delivery) for Myofascial Release
  • Exercises that attempt to strengthen the leg muscles (focusing on - but not limited to - hips, glutes and hamstrings)

As I type this post it has been 4 days since my last run, I plan to start the strengthening exercises from Thursday (just body weight) and to attempt a 3km run on Saturday, that'll be a full week without running. Of course, when my foam roller arrives I'll start rolling too.

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