The infamous IT band injury…I heard about it from runners all the time, but thought they were just exaggerating the pain ( I mean really all the way up your leg?!) until last March when I was hit hard.
Unfortunately, IT pain is often difficult to resolve because you need all of those muscles to make your leg work…and runners just aren’t smart enough to hold back on working out until the pain is so severe. I went through a lot of processes to get back to a healthy IT band and have had a lot of requests for exercises and information…so here are 7 ways that I found to ease the pain and make a recovery.
1. Medication: If you are in severe pain, a 7 day steroid pack will decrease in the inflammation allowing you to regain mobility. I am not a fan of taking meds generally, but when the pain was so bad I couldn’t walk, this was the only thing that allowed my body to start the recovery process.
2. Stretching: Static stretching and yoga are important to releasing that IT band and lengthening. Use caution with stretching though…you will feel it and your muscle will be tight so it’s important not to push too hard. A few examples can be found here>>
3. Active stretch before activity: New report shows flexibility is increased through active stretching over static. Prior to each run spend a few minutes doing forward and back swings, as well as cross body leg swings. This activates your hips and warms up the muscles.
4. Hip strengthening: After meeting with a PT, I learned a lot about how much our hips are required to stabilize the entire body and keep us running with a smooth motion. My PT provided a number of great exercises, which have the added benefit of working the core! You can find complete details in my post on PT exercises
5. Foam roller: I personally am not a huge fan of the foam roller, but MANY people swear by it. I used it occasionally and still do, but I am not a daily advocate. I think this is one you will have try for yourself…I will warn that it can be painful.
6. Hot tub: Not everyone has a hot tub available, but if you have access I swear by the hot tub for releasing and relaxing the muscle.
7. Easy does it: You do not have to stop running. In fact, many docs have said with injuries that you are better not to stop 100% of activity because that just creates new issues. What you have to do now is listen to your body. If you start to run and it hurts, stop right away and walk. Also, do NOT overdo it with the strength work or stretching or foam roller…this made my injury last for months longer than it should because it exhausted my muscle.
What other ways have you found to help with ITB issues?
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