ITBS IT band problem

I'm currently trying to rest my legs because i have Dublin marathon in a few days and I am having mild/moderate discomfort with my IT band leading to pain on my right knee.  I'm using the foam roller and doing all the exercises i can find on youtube and tomorro im going for a small run and an ice bath.  Will this help or am I in for the longest 26.2 miles ! P.s this is my first marathon image


  • Where are you rollering?


  • Thought that might be the case, most do. 

    What you're doing there is foam rolling the ITB itself, unfortunatley as the ITB is made of fairly inelastic matreial, rolling it directly will not release any tension (tension that is probably causing your pain/ discomfort). 

    What you need to concentrate on is the muscles connected to the ITB. If you are getting pain on the outside of your knee then chances are you have a bit of muscular imbalance between your gluteus medius and tensor fascia latae (TFL). 

    Short term fix would be massage the TFL in order to release the tension in your ITB, can use a foam roller but due to the location of the TFL a tennis ball might work better:


    This will most likley get you through the race.

    A longer term fix would be some strengthening exercises for your glute med to address any imbalance.


  • I am suffering too with the same issue although mine occured after Chester marathon.  Been foam rollering and doing some strength work but am still running like a bloody snail!  Off to see a physio on Monday and not run for a week now.  Damn legs!  Be prepared though if your suffering now it will get worse over the course of your marathon I would imagine.  Some people swear by using knee straps.  I haven't tried them yet but might be an idea for you to when you race - may be a bit better suppored?  Worth a try and good luck!

  • Great news! Hope that is the end of it for u then!


  • When you say you massaged the TFL at work did you just mean by hand? I imagine using a tennis ball would take extreme precision!!? 

    Just reflecting on your previous comments; congrats on finishing the marathon - amazing time for injury and lack of training beforehand. I thought running through knee pain was strongly unadvisable? 

    I tried running through what started as some minor knee pain recently and it made it much  worse and all I did was about 3k... 

  • ITBS is not joint related so can be "coped" with far more easily than a joint related issue, the advice for which would be STOP and seek medical advice.

    As for the tennis ball, it works better than a roller precisely because the TFL is small and you can be more precise when applying pressure. Admittedly you may look a bit of a tit flopping around like a beached dolphin on the floor, on your front, at work!


  • But the IT band overlaps the knee joint does it not? Therefore continuing exercise with an ITB problem would increase inflammation and lead to more pain? 

  • That is correct, the only way to get rid of ITBS is with rest and the appropriate treatment of the root cause. 

    That being said ITBS is classed as an overuse injury and is therefore less severe (unless left untreated) than what might be classed as regular knee pain (generally associated with cartalidge, ligament, bone etc.).

    Difference being is if you've spent months training for a marathon and develop ITBS at the last minute some rest and appropriate treatment will get you through the race without worsening your condition by too much thus not wasting all the effort put into training. The same cannot be said with ruptured cartilage or a torn ligament.

    Suppose I'm trying to say that for a beginner "stop if you have any pain in/ around joints" is good advice. For a more experienced runner something a little less black and white would be more appropriate.


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