Well, doggone. Looks like I have myself a case of iliotibial band syndrome.

Last Monday, I did an 8-mile training run and had some knee stiffness and general soreness, but nothing remarkable. I iced, rested, took Ibuprofen, and felt better in two days, but stayed on the treadmill on Wednesday to soften the impact of my 2.5 mile recovery run. By Thursday, I did my usual 6-mile run in the park with Karsten, and on Friday, we ran another 6 miles along Belle Meade Boulevard. Then on Saturday morning, I did a 10-mile training run in the park, and have been experiencing pretty heavy knee pain ever since.

The symptoms are classic ITBS: lateral knee pain, some hip soreness, difficulty walking up and down hills and stairs but no difficulty walking on flat surfaces. I’ve been icing, resting, and taking Ibuprofen, and I’m feeling ready to get on an elliptical machine tomorrow morning, but I’ve also been doing my homework. I have some stretches I have to start doing religiously — at just about every possible opportunity. I found a seemingly reliable article on the web that recommends a strengthening exercise which I just tried and can feel that it should work over time. And I need to buy new shoes.

Oh, and I can’t run on Belle Meade Boulevard anymore. That same article makes a point about sloping roads — I noticed on Friday morning how uncomfortable my legs felt because of the slope toward the edge of the road, and I now suspect that that run had more to do with my current knee pain than my longer but flatter run on Saturday morning.

I’ve also made up my mind about the Chicago marathon: not this year. I’ve decided that I’ll run in the Park Forest Scenic 10, which is a 10 mile and 5K race in my hometown on Labor Day weekend. And then I’d like to run the half-marathon portion of the Country Music Marathon next April, and then by next October, I’ll be ready for Chicago. Hopefully, I’ll have also figured out some tricks to make my knees cooperate with the kind of mileage I’m trying to run.

We’ll see how the rest of this week goes: I’d been planning on running the Music Row 5K this Saturday, but even though it’s short, it’s a very hilly run and that could do me in. I’ve got my fingers crossed. I hear JoDee Messina is supposed to be running in it, and I thought it would be fun to chance seeing her there. But not at the risk of another several days of aching knees.

Self-diagnosis: iliotibial band syndrome

6 thoughts on “Self-diagnosis: iliotibial band syndrome

  • June 7, 2004 at 1:00 pm
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    I’m another ITB person. I went through physical therapy, stretches, strengthening exercises, bla bla bla, and got to the point where I was pretty much functional. My knees still hurt but not to the screaming point. Then, for a completely different problem, I had custom orthotics made. I haven’t had knee pain since.

    Reply
  • June 8, 2004 at 2:04 am
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    Oh no! I’m glad to hear you’re taking care of yourself, though. Here’s to swift healing.

    -J

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  • May 24, 2008 at 4:54 pm
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    Help, I have been having IT band trouble for 3 months now. I know it started when I was training for a 1/2 marathon, I went for a 12 mile run on a trail that was rutted out in the middle so I ran on the side (which was sloped), thinking I’m protecting my ankles. Well, my ankles are fine but not my IT band. I ran on the right side out and back. I have had trouble ever since. I can only make it about 1 – 2 miles before the knife like pain starts. I have tried every stretch I can find, iced it and roll on a foam tube for massage. Rested for 1 week which didn’t do a thing for it. I need guidance and encouragement that it will get better. I love my long runs and miss them!

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  • May 26, 2008 at 1:58 pm
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    I need guidance and encouragement that it will get better. I love my long runs and miss them!

    I’ll give you encouragement: I encourage you to see a doc. 🙂 Seriously, if it’s been going on for 3 months now? It’s time.

    Wishing you well!

    Reply
  • June 7, 2008 at 2:59 pm
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    I need guidance and encouragement that it will get better. I love my long runs and miss them!

    I’ll give you encouragement: I encourage you to see a doc. Seriously, if it’s been going on for 3 months now? It’s time.
    Wishing you well!

    I was diagnosed with itbs about 3 months ago which reaally began last year then went away and came back debilitatig me from running. The doctor gave me relafen and said to elevate, stretch, and ice, and that’s about it. There really is nothing you can do other than let it heal on it’s own. We were doing lots of hills-down and up and the down was the problem and we increased our mileage too quickly. I bought an it band which helps to keep the it band in place considerably well as I finished 5 miles last night. I too enjoy tunning and hope my knee holds up for the 10k we are doing tomorrow.

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  • June 7, 2008 at 3:10 pm
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    Thanks for you reply. I had an appointment but was struck w/ appendicitis and had emergency surgery this past week, so I have been forced to stay off of it. Hopefully it will be healed once I can get running again. I read somewhere that they can surgically lengthen your it band if all else fails. Anyone know anything about this?

    Reply

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