Once you have any IT band issues, you realize that rehab is now an ongoing process to ensure you never get back to that place of intense pain and no running. It might be that way with most injuries, but I have to say this is the one that has stuck with me and reminded me consistently to treat my body with love and respect…and painful therapies.
MY ITB Story
For those who don't know 2 years ago during training for San Diego RNR I strained my IT band. I stopped running for a few weeks, but headed out to the race determined to run...I made it to mile 12 and then spend the remainder of the pace walking sometimes at a 20 min pace in ridiculous pain. I then spent 3 months NOT running to make up for my silliness. After a few months of PT, I learned things on my own to really help mitigate recurring issues. Checkout my original 7 Tips for IT Band recovery, which I have now supplemented with more fun tools.
FOAM ROLLER AND MASSAGE STICK
I vehemently protested usage of the foam roller for a long time…now I am digging in with a massage stick and using that foam roller daily. The more you use it the less it hurts because you finally have broken up a lot of the muscles that are fused together.
If you aren't sure how to use a foam roller, here is a quick video on how I use it which will save you the $30 co-pay of visiting the PT if you start doing it now!
In addition to the foam roller, I like the massage stick for getting my calves. I tend to have VERY tight calf muscles and this can cause issue with your overall stride so of course I want to try to loosen them up.
I also added the Trigger Point roller to my arsenal since this post! It allows you to go much deeper than the regular foam roller.
LEGS UP POSITION
Often called leg drains, this is actually a yoga position where you lay with your butt next to the wall and your legs up the wall. I find this too uncomfortable to do for long and my legs fall asleep so instead, you can do what is recommended in the 4Hour Body which is simply putting your legs at a 90 degree angle on a bench. Lay there for 5 minutes to give your hips time to relax and resettle. This is only useful if done frequently.
SQUATS AND LEG LIFTS
I’m a runner…I never lift weights with my legs and hence I never spent any time doing any type of squats. As I have started doing more lifting and yoga, I was forced in to a world of squats, lunges and leg extensions…surprise I got stronger and reduced my overall injury rate. Start out just adding a few to your weight lifting routine or doing them after a run each week.
In fact there are a few dynamic lunges that are great prior to a workout. Lunging left and right or forward and back will warm up your muscles and help develop strength. I also do leg lifts while watching TV…it sounds Jane Fonda like but when Ki-hara showed me that my hamstrings weren’t firing and my abductors were weak I needed quick easy ways to hone in on those muscles. If you haven’t yet tried ki-hara, please review my post on it; I swear it is a great thing for runners.
EPSOM SALT AND LEMON OIL
Epsom salts help to relieve sore muscles and are my go to after hard workouts where I can feel my legs tingling or twitching. I tends to prevent cramps and allows everything to relax, which keeps me from getting a tight ITB (read more about epsom salt baths).
Another trick I learned when getting a regular massage was100% Lemon Pure Essential Oil. It is VERY potent so it could burn if put directly on your skin depending on how your body reacts. It is recommended to put it on something like cheese cloth and then rub it along the area. I can put it directly on the muscle and within seconds anything that was tight or knotted will release.
All right there you have it some of the ways in which I am keeping IT Band flare ups from happening! Anything I left out that you find extremely helpful?
** Edited**: Great points made about the chiro and yoga! I definitely include both in my ongoing quest to keep the body feeling good.
I am grateful for my wedding ring
I am grateful for my wedding band
I am grateful for my engagement necklace
I am grateful for the birthday gift that will match them
I am grateful for husbands who take strong hints