I'm starting to get really, really sick of going to different doctors. I feel like every single one has a different diagnosis for what's causing my ITBS.
Enough! Shouldn't running be simple? "This is your injury - here is your treatment. Wash and repeat a few times and you'll be ready to get back out there."
I went to a PT session last month and felt instantly defeated. My PT blamed my shoes and tried to get me to buy $70 orthopedic insoles, and told me if I didn't change my running form I would never be able to run again. I didn't go back, and I've been trying all kinds of other treatments, and nothing has worked. Finally, I swallowed my pride and made another PT appointment, this time with a different company. It was a longer drive, but it was worth a shot.
I liked this PT off the bat. After she listened to my injury details, the first thing she said was, "Okay, well we have our goal. We'll get you back to running." She went through a lot of different tests, and after almost 2 months of being in pain, I heard a question I wasn't expecting.
"Did you know one of your legs is longer than the other? Your hips are out of alignment."
She did a slight adjustment and showed me different exercises to target my hip flexors. The funny thing is I always thought I was okay in the hips, because I do the abductor and adductor machines at the gym. As it turns out, my hips are complete and total shit. One of the exercises was a side lunge, followed by a backwards and diagonal lunge that opens up your hips. I almost fell over every single time I tried it.
After I got home, I looked it up more. It makes sense, and I don't know why I never thought of it before. Everyone else told me to train my glutes, but I've never worried about increasing the range of motion in my hips. Here is some medical babble:
"The function of the muscles inserting into the ITB (Tensor Fascia Lata) is to abduct the leg. If the hip abductors are weak, then the ITB is being overworked. The ITB does not have an insertion that offers a favorable mechanical advantage. In fact, it is at a considerable disadvantage for the purpose of hip and leg abduction activity. Therefore when the hip abductors are weak, the tensor fascia lata must contract harder and over a longer period of time thus straining the ITB. Make sure that part of your cure is to strengthen your hip and leg abductors."
So, after all these doctor visits, why do I trust this PT? Tonight at the gym I did a few of the exercises she showed me, and I was able to do 10 minutes on the elliptical without any pain. Since there's still inflammation, it didn't last very long afterwards. Still, it's a start. Hopefully it's a start to my real road to recovery.
"Disclaimer: I received an addaday pro to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. ALL opinions and experiences are my own! Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!"
So, funny story. If you are injured in any way, shape, or form, fellow runners will immediately ask if you've tried to foam roll. It doesn't matter if you broke your leg - "Did you try foam rolling?!" is the first, and usually only piece of advice they can give you. Since developing ITBS at the start of October, have I tried foam rolling?
The pink one is my old foam roller. The orange one is a new one that I picked up from Trigger Point. The little ball is a softball from Target. The white thing is a big piece of PVC pipe. I've rolled on all of these things, and I usually find myself lifting myself in the air to put more weight on my quads/glutes/IT band, and all to no avail.
As a BibRave Pro, I got to pick one of the addaday products to try out. I won't lie when I say I squealed when I found this out. I always see these things on the wall at JRC (the local running store), but I never knew how they work. I didn't want to buy one to have it do nothing - after dealing with this injury, I'm very wary of all of these "miracle cures" that just make the pain worse. After checking out the product selection (available here), I went with the pro version. I waited anxiously and was very excited to receive mine!
So how does it work? Each roller has these lightweight balls with grooves, so it's like you're giving yourself a massage. With a flat foam roller (like my pink one), you don't have any change in texture, so you don't receive as deep of a massage. There are different colored balls with different levels of firmness, so if there's a specific area you want to target, feel free! My model also came with the red ball, which is designed for even more pressure in specific points, especially those that are hard to reach.
How did it turn out? I rolled rolled rolled all over my quad, hamstrings, and IT band. When I went to PT last month, my doctor told me I had extremely stiff muscles, and that I should foam roll (shocker) to help relieve the pressure off the IT band. After a few days, I noticed I was really bruised - almost to the same level that I was when I went through my first ASTYM treatment. I probably pushed a little too hard, but it hurt so good!
I love being able to actually target my muscles without laying on a foam roller. Even on the PVC pipe, I find myself lifting my body in the air to try to target the tight spots more. With the addaday, you control the pressure. And trust me - if I haven't broken mine yet, you know it's made from really durable and quality materials. You can use this while you watch TV, lay in bed, or while you're at work like me - these sticks don't travel to work that great, but they also sell smaller models to take on the go.
As for the effect it's had on my ITBS, I'm a little bummed that it hasn't resolved it. At the same time, during my last PT trip, my PT was surprised that my IT band and muscles were so loose. She also discovered where the problem lies - more on that in my next blog post, but it's not something that any amount of foam rolling is going to cure.
If you're looking for a new foam roller, I definitely recommend you give the addaday a try instead. I couldn't be happier with mine, and once I'm able to train again I know it will be a key part of my recovery!
For more on addaday, check them out on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!
Note: As a BibRave Pro I was sent a FlipBelt to test out and review. While I received the product for free, I was not compensated in any other way for this review. All opinions/pictures are my own! Check out Part 1 of my review here.
After receiving my FlipBelt a few weeks ago, I've been itching to run with it. Actually, I've been itching to just run, but that's another story. While I can't run, I can work out at the gym. Here are my impressions of the FlipBelt:
Tomorrow marks 4 weeks since my last real run. Since I had a massive flareup of ITBS, I haven't been able to run more than 2 miles, and doing that caused me a lot of pain.
I'm not going crazy. I've already gone crazy.
Running gave me something to focus on other than my job. Going to group runs introduced me to a lot of awesome people and gave me my first chance of finally making friends here in Jacksonville. Training and fundraising for New York gave me a way to honor my dad. Now that I can't run, I feel like I'm stuck in my apartment watching terrible TV. I'm also afraid to eat, since now that I'm not logging 25 miles per week, I'm also not burning those calories either.
Since I've been injured, I've been focusing on things like Pilates, yoga, and weight training. The swelling in my IT band has gone down substantially, but there's still a bit left. I've now seen three doctors.
When can I run again? I'm hoping to be able to run by Thanksgiving. I'm at the point where I'm scared to even try it, because any additional flareup will just make recovery take longer. At the suggestion of Alex, I purchased a big piece of PVC pipe and have been using it every night. Yes, really.
I'm an avid reader of Runner's World, and I also follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The other night, their Facebook page had a link to an article called "How to injure yourself like a pro," written by none other than Lauren Fleshman. Since I've become an expert on how to injure yourself, I thought I'd recap what went wrong. Even though I knew the dumb ways to train, I did them anyway. I easily fit every single one of these steps. Make sure to not do this, and you have a good chance of not ending up like me.
I'm Jenn! I'm a baker, blogger, sorta-runner, and writer living in Jacksonville, Florida!