ITB syndrome recovery & training

Hello I was well underway with training for my first half marathon when nearly 2 weeks ago ??I felt the twinge of the dreaded ITB Syndrome pulling I the side of my knee.. I have had this issue before (about 6 years ago I switched from swimming to running without a steady build up) so initially I thought I could continue my training but with a heavy focus on stretching and foam rolling (hadn't reaaaally been stretching much before - bad, I know!).

However, when I tried a lying stretch with a belt I realised I was hyper extending my knee into the stretch (I'm hypermobile in almost all my joints) and so I tried to correct this by slightly bending my knee. This is when I felt a bad burning sensation in my knee and the pain got worse thereafter, initially just in the left side and eventually spreading to the right (from overcompensating I'm guessing). So I started foam rolling 2-3 times p/w and stretching my IT Band 2-3 times a day. I also went for a sports massage at my gym.

I gave it nearly 2 weeks with no running, cycling or conditioning for my legs and my knees feel much better, I've been back out on my bike without any pain. I have also shelled out on a new pair of proper trainers to correct my over pronation and I was wondering how I am best to go forward with training for my 1/2 marathon (which is in 5 weeks)?

Please excuse the essay, didn't want to miss anything out!




  • The sports massage, foam roller etc will help with the pain, but may not solve the problem. My own long history of ITB problems requied rehab through a strengthening and stretching program of the Glutes, TFL, hamstrings and calves. Now the pain is gone provided I keep up with a few exercises. A good sports PT/chiropractor should be able to assess
  • Hi Beth,

    I agree with Also Ran - glutes strengthening is essential. If you're hypermobile then you probably should focus more on strength work than stretching. The ITB usually tightens due to weakness in the glutes - stretching and foam rollering alone won't address that.

    I'd say you can return to running as soon as it feels comfortable to do so. Give it a go, see how it feels, keep your running slow with a smaller stride length and avoid hills (up or down) until it feels 100%.

    More info on ITB here;

    And returning to running here;

    Hope that helps

  • Thanks for the advice and links guys! Booked in to see a sports rehab therapist, started trying out some glute strengthening exercises and ran for the first time in 2 weeks today! Only a small jog but I am pain free so things are looking better!

    Thanks again


  • build up slowly.... ITB can be beaten. image


  • PSC wrote (see)

    build up slowly.... ITB can be beaten. image


    Does that mean the 1/2 marathon is out? image

  • Not necessarily. But you might want to ease up from now to allow the swollen tendon sheath to recover. What side of the road do you run on? Sometimes the camber has an effect in itb sufferers.
  • I used to run mostly on the treadmill at the gym but more recently I had been trainging in the park - so I was thinking of alternating direction for each lap? I understand that this change of terrain could have been a contributing factor in the ITB as well! D'oh.

    I was thinking 3 - 4 little runs this week (3 miles or so) and then build up to 4 mile runs and maybe 1 long(ish) run next week... Seeing how my knees hold up of course!
  • I'm no expert, but that sounds reasonable.  I don't think you need alternate the way you run around the park (unless it's a very little park).image

    Are your shoes OK....? I sometimes wonder whether worn out shoes start triggering ITB problems in me.

  • I agree with all the advice on glute strengthening for IT band syndrome. Make sure you are doing the side lying clam exercise (see video on above link). This is by far the best strengthening exercise for the gluteus medius.

    As for if the half marathon is out of the question, it depends how far you were with your training and running distances before the knee pain. If you were already doing 8-10 mile runs then it shouldn't be too much of a problem. BUT if you had only managed 5-6, you might struggle. Also depends on if you are just doing it to finish or whether you have a target time in mind?

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