ITBS (illitorial Band Syndrome) - Injury

I was training for 12 weeks to run my first half marathon (Maidstone) in October 2012 and got up to 10 mile distance, then on one of my last 11.5 mile training runs 1 week and half before Race Day I got pain inside and on the outside of my right knee at the 10 mile mark and limped home. Reading symptoms online it appeared to be ITBS from running on the road too much and recommended RICE (Rest Ice Compress Elevate). Which I have done since October and did my first training run for the Brighton half last night on the treadmill. Apart from my time dropping from no training, I did 4 miles comfortably with no pain or discomfort. Then as I went to walk down the stairs this morning I got a shooting pain in the same spot and it feels weak again.

Is there anything I can do to speed recovery so that I can make sure I am ready for the Brighton half in 10 weeks? I was down to do 2 half marathons to raise money for Cancer Research and now it looks like I am going to have postpone another one and I am absolutely gutted about letting people down who have sponsored me already.



    Huw - Check this out - i myself am currently resting with exactly the same problem. I got it about 3 wks ago having been running 25 miles a week for 18 months with no problems. It was scary how it suddenly came on.

    Rather than pay out for physio i did a bit of self diagnosis on line and am two weeks into the attached plan - that seems to be working. I havent tried anything further than about 3 miles so far (was running upto 15 a month ago) and its been 'ok' but it seems that without the rest you could end up undoing the treatment. Im heading for Bton half in Feb and full in April, and have decided that im not going to do much running until the new year and use Jan to train. The article looks well presented and reflects what friends of mine have been told (at vast expense) although some have been advised by professionals that stretching the IT is the way forward as opposed to stregthening the hip abdutors - which is what im doing. Some of the exercises take a bit of getting used to and im using variants (resistance band) to complement them. I guess ill see how sucessful its been in the new yr when i head out. Suffice to say alot of the reading ive done seems to suggest that this could be ongoing and the exercises might need to be built into ongoing trainig programs..... Good luck


    p.s. also just put ITB into the search on this site - there's loads

  • Ed, thanks for this mate I really appreciate it. I don't think I will be able to run on it at the moment as it's really painful when I walk up or down stairs unfortunately. I've ordered some resisitance bands and will get doing the exercises with the hip abs exercises as well to strengthen to see if that helps.

    I will let you know how I get on.....this would be my first half marathon so I will have to see whether doing the Brighton half is going to feasible without enough distance training behind me, I will probably end up giving myself another injury if I do attempt it.

  • mr fmr f ✭✭✭
    Ed, that's a great link. Thanks. I've been suffering with this for a while, those stretches and strength exercises look brilliant so il be starting them today!
  • Good luck. Ivery tentatively took a few running steps this morning with no pain (been doing the exercises for about 2 wks now) so i can feel they're definitely helping. I'm pretty sure that the answer is to not jump back into things too quickly - even if feeling ok. My feet are very itchy and i really want to get back out there as im not a great fan of X training - and dont have gym membership or anything, so struggling to remain patient - especailly with the half in Feb looming

    Anyways keep us posted and let us know if you find anything else of use.

  • I am also signed up for the Brighton half and what feels like ITBS has set in just a couple of weeks ago after the Gosport half (which was my first half). I am trainging for the VLM and since I only started running in May the thought of taking time off from running is a scary proposition. I have booked an appointment for a sports massage next Tuesday which I am hoping will help me get on the road to recovery. I am debating whether I should go for easy pace runs between now and then.

    For me the main symptom started off as a pain in my left leg just below the knee on the outside of my leg. This has now spread around the knee and if I do not move my leg it gets very stiff and difficult to straighten/walk on. I am also starting to get some soreness in my hip now too. If I stretch my calf this seems to help - odd since my calf is not hurting at all. 

    Does that sound familiar?

  • Yes does sound familiar, although sounds like mine is slightly higher up - you know in that hollowy bit that you can put your finger into. Would be very interested to hear what a professional has to say about it... and what they do i.e. - manipulate it or just give you a bunch of exercises to do - or both....?

  • mr fmr f ✭✭✭
    Yeh mines in the same place as you ed... You can feel the band in there, feels swollen and moves nicely when you rub four fingers over it!
  • mr fmr f ✭✭✭
    Es, a couple of days and I'm living the strength exercises on the website you suggested. Have you considered adding Pilates to your routine? Very good at strengthening the core including the bios and flutes etc, and very low impact
  • I have had this and did lots of research. The most valuable thing I found was 'rest'. It is also the most unwelcome if you are pushing for a deadline. We all hate not to train and run. But what I read made clear that there is no real understanding of ITBS and conflicting advice. Some recommend stretches, but there is medical eveidence that suggests the ITB cannot really be physically 'stretched', so any benefit from stretching is probably limited. The research I did, and followed, said that rest is really the most positive thing you can do. IT has to be total rest. not just reduced running. Give it a total break for a month. Then start slowly, 2km max, maybe 3 times a week. Then build up, slowly. At the first sign of anythign wrong - stop and walk. Never push it. It will go. 

    In terms of a cause, the main suspect is running suface, camber, hills, and repetitive movement. The last of these is not to be underestimated. You may be fine doing hills, or road running, but not if you do it all the time. Mix your running, and you are more likely to avoid repetitive strains (IBS and lots of others too). And you will be a better runner too! So don't run the same course, same road, same hill every time. Change your training and mix it up.

    Good luck. 

  • With only 18 weeks to go taking 4 weeks off and then starting slowly is not really an option for a first timer marathon runner in my opinion image

  • Suffered badly from this a few years ago - had it massaged regularly which is one of the most painful things I've ever had !!  I did lots of stretches and also changed my shoes - I had gait analysis done and my shoes were a major cause.  I also wore a Patt strapp for a while which helped - Invest in a foam roller and yes rest for a while.  My ITB still tightens but I haven't had the knee pain since - good luck

  • I'm recovering from this at the moment and it's very frustrating! I'm signed up for my first marathon in April and my 16 week training plan starts Christmas week. I was limping after a parkrun so took it easy in the week with short slow runs and spinning with no problems then when I ran parkrun the following week my knee went completely and I had to stop.

    I've since seen a physio who advised me to stick to swimming, spinning and cross-training for two weeks and do resistant band training every day. Pleased to say after 3 weeks of no running I started to run 2 mins on 2mins off and managed a very slow parkrun on the weekend. I'm just concentrating on being able to run by Christmas. For me rest was best but I tried other cardio so I didn't go completely mad!

    Fingers crossed for no more injuries! I feel your pain (literally)


  • In my experience the best treatment for ITBS is glute rolling and stretching. The ITB is very thick and strong, and doesn't stretch well so the best way to ease it is to treat the attachment areas. Calf stretching can help too, but to a lesser extent.

  • Agreed - see link above.

    Ive taken the plunge and ordered a Patt strap - thanks green eyes - ill try anything at the moment. Still continuing with the resistance band - strength and stretching exercises. If anything by the end of it ill have the most wonderfully toned legs in all of Sussex - irrespective of whether or not they work.....

  • Can this sometimes be more in the hip area? For a month I've been getting pain on my left hand side, a sharp pain when planting my foot after 2/3miles and then an aching like a dead leg the day after.  Tried rest for 3 weeks but made no difference.  Sports therapist said I had TFL trigger point which he released.  Foam roller is out daily, think it might be shifting slowly.  I too have VLM in April and my mileage has gone to pot due to this......

  • The main causes for me were I'm slightly bow legged which I'm well aware of and I have tight calfs. My physio advised to add more fartlek training to my plan. Pain and aches are more likely when running at a constant pace so it's good to mix it up a bit.

  • "With only 18 weeks to go taking 4 weeks off and then starting slowly is not really an option for a first timer marathon runner in my opinion" - I understand this reply to my previous post, but the injury will dictate the recovery time. In my experience it is better to rest it for longer, but be able to get back to 100% even for less weeks of training before the race, than to push too hard too soon and set yourself back totally.

    It is a judgement. I think the total rest part is the most important. Maybe if the first couple of 2km runs after the total rest are 100% without any reaction, then if thee is a deadline the 'slowly' increase can be put aside and increase faster. But I think the first period of rest meaning total test is best not avoided.

    But everyone has to decide and judge for themselves.

  • Would rest from running also include staying away from cycling in your opinion?

  • "Would rest from running also include staying away from cycling in your opinion?"

    I am no expert. My experience was total rest - no cycling or any working the legs. I suppose if someone wants to try cycling and they feel nothing in the ITB then maybe cycling is OK to keep the fitness level. But I cannot imagine that cycling will not be working the ITB too. So what I did was total rest. 

  • I've suffered with ITBS a few times, and has generally been down to hip/glute function, with the main pain being the friction at the knee. Rest for me means no running. Rowing is good for me, and eliptical trainers are usually ok. I've steered clear of cycling as it is an activity that can lead to ITBS.
  • How did you guys know when to stop resting it?

  • I have had issues with ITBS over the past 6 months....I found stretching and massage to help the most. I have been getting some hip niggles again, which I wondered was related - knees are fine now.

  • Seems I do not have ITBS after all. Physio pointed out the muscle which i have inflamed/pulled - looking at a diagram it seems to be the peroneus longus muscle. I can continue to run thank god - apparently it wont get better until I take a bit of a break from running which I will do after the marathon in April. She said I am fine to run as long as the pain does not get worse during running - it does not. It actually feels better during running.

  • Thats great Khanivore - many congrats - for me, the Patt strap arrived and it works to an extent - ended up doing 8 miles very slowly and the knee seems to feel all the better for it - so will continue taking things easy and doing the exercises from the link on pg 1 and hit the training proper in the new year - good luck all!

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