7 exercises and video demonstration for Iliotibial Band (ITB) treatment

IT Band / ITB Syndrome / Iliotibial Band

How I got Iliotibial Band (ITB) Syndrome

During the Perlis Marathon 2017 held on April 30, I felt the tightness of my right thigh from the hip to the shin as I ran at 5:20-5:25 min / km trying to keep up with an elite running friend. After after the race, I felt okay.

Then I proceeded with training during the week trying to prepare for Standard Chartered KL Marathon 2017 to be held on May 21. Unfortunately, during a 10 km tempo run at 5:00 min per km average pace on May 5, I felt a sharp pain on right side of my right knee. I ignored the warning. On May 7, I went to Padang Merbuk to run 21 km with friends. Initially my both legs felt fine. But as I was running back from Seri Hartamas to Padang Merbuk, suddenly my right knee was painful and wobbly like jelly. I also felt a sharp pain shooting up to my thigh and shin. I thought probably it was just some knee pain. I continued to run using my right waist to share the landing load on my right foot.

Before I knew it, I reached back to the car park with pain on the side of my right knee, right thigh to the hip and also my back.

What a bummer!

I believe I have an overuse injury called IT band syndrome!! 😭 

Iliotibial Band (ITB) Syndrome 

The IT band attaches to the knee and helps to stabilize and move the joint (no wonder my knee was wobbly like jelly!!). It is common in endurance athletes that affects a tissue that runs from the side of the hip all the way down past the knee. Most of the time, the inflammation manifests itself as pain on the outside of the knee. IT band pain can be severe to completely sideline a runner for weeks or even longer. 

The last time I had lliotibial band (IT band) was 3 year ago! and I was sidelined for around 5-6 months!

What a hefty price to pay for not listening to my body's condition with SCKLM 2017 only 2 weeks to go.

I guess I was overly ambitious trying to run too many races and also increase my weekly mileage too fast too soon.

Oh well, now I need to learn to deal with it!

First thing I did....

Stop running completely. 

In fact, I have stopped running for the last 2 weeks until SCKLM 2017 today. I knew I shouldn't even run SCKLM 2017 at first place. But that's another story... I will share about it in a different article.

Seeking treatments for IT Band Syndrome

I went for sport massage and cupping. See the write up here.

I also went to physical therapist to seek treatment. 

I also borrowed roller foam and resistance band from a friend to do some exercises at home.

Roller foam

Resistance band

ITB Rehab Routine - Video Demonstration by www.strengthrunning.com 

I also googled to find out the best exercises that I can do at home to treat my IT band. I have found it at http://strengthrunning.com/2011/02/the-itb-rehab-routine-video-demonstration/ . (a big thank you!!) 

It is a video demonstration of 7 exercises with either resistance band or mere body weight that can help ITB syndrome to faster recovery. The video isn't perfect but it's practical and easily to follow. Most importantly, I can do it at home.

ITB Rebab Routine- 7 exercises that can be done at home with resistance band and body weight

  1. Lateral Leg Raises: lie on your right side with a resistance band around your ankles. Lift your left leg to about 45 degrees in a controlled manner, then lower. 30 reps per side.
  2. Clam Shells: lie on your right side with your knees together and a resistance band around your lower thighs. You thighs should be about 45 degrees from your body and your knees bent at 90 degrees. Open your legs like  clam shell but don't move your pelvis - the motion shoul not rock your torso or pervic girdle. Keep it slow and controlled. 30 reps each leg.
  3. Hip Thrust: lie on your back with your weight on your upper back your feet. Your legs will be bent at the knee. Lift one leg so your weight is all on one leg and your back. Lower your butt almost to the ground and thrust upward by activating your glutes. This exercise is great for glute strength and hip stability. 25 reps on each leg.
  4. Side-Steps / Shuffle: with a resistance band around your ankles and knees slightly bent, take ten steps laterally. The band should be tight enough so it provides constant resistance during all steps. Still face the same direction, take another 10 steps back to your starting position. That is one set. This exercise will look like a slow-motion version of a basketball "defense" drill. Do 5 sets.
  5. Pistol Squats: These are simply one-legged squats. The key to a successful pistol squat is to not lean forward, keep the motion slow and controlled, and make sure your knee does not collapse inward.
  6. Hip Hikes: Stand on your right foot. With your pelvis in a neutral position, drop the left side so it's several inches below the right side of your pelvic bone. Activate your right hip muscle and lift your left side back to its neutral position. 20 reps per side.
  7. Iron Cross: This dynamic stretch will help you feel loose after the previous strength exercises. Lie on your back with your arms out to your sides and swing your right leg over your torso and up to your left hand. Repeat with your left leg. 20 reps in total.

Have hope that you will fully recover!

Well, if you ever have IT Band like me, I hope the above 7 exercises and video demonstration provided by www.strengthrunning.com helps. 

I guess we just need to be patient. It might take weeks or longer to fully recover.

But be hopeful! 

We shall recover and come back stronger!! 😋

Written by Vincent Khor on 21 May, 2017.


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