Don’t run and you’ll heal.
Uh.. sorry doc, but that is not an option.
Many endurance enthusiasts consider running their BFF. We rely on the quiet serenity of long runs to settle stress levels and cool anxiety. After a run we feel happier, healthier, and more balanced. Anything that interferes with your ability to run has the opposite effect, making injuries devastating. Because running is excessively jarring to the body, it is likely that you will suffer from an injury at some point.
While running the marathon, I suffered from an iliotibial (IT) band injury. The IT band runs laterally from the outside of the hip to the knee. My injury occurred at mile 16, resulting in my IT band to swell and rub against the outside of my knee. I still had 10 miles to go, but the pain was crippling–making it painful to walk, let alone run.
I was crushed. Previous to the injury, I was on pace to set a new personal best. Now, I was struggling to walk. Fortunately, I was able to hop, limp, and walk to the finish line. After finishing, I was not even tired. My injury had kept me from exerting myself–leaving me extremely discouraged at my injury and unimpressive finish time.
Following my disappointing marathon performance, I was hopeless. I felt a huge sense of loss as my ability to run was being challenged. It was time to figure out how to overcome my injury and get back to running, quickly.
How to treat an IT band injury
I applied several measures of treatment to assist the healing of my IT band, including:
- R&R. Rest and recovery was an important part of my recovery, along with a healthy dose of ice, compression, and elevation.
- Reduced Activity. Once the pain subsided, I was able to train by decreasing the intensity of my workouts and mileage.
- Anti-Inflammatory Medications. I’ve never been one to take many medications, but taking a few ibuprofen before running is now a go to.
- Stretching and Strengthening. I followed the stretches and strengthening exercises for iliotibial band syndrome highlighted in the Running Times Magazine.
- IT Band Compression Wrap. When running, I always wear a compression wrap to reduce friction and rubbing.
Now remember, I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. If you are faced with a running related injury, consult your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment of any running injury.