Thursday, January 23, 2014

If you say "I told you so" then you're dead to me

I have a confession to make: when I have aches and pains, I just keep running and expect it to eventually go away. Running literature will tell you "Don't run if it hurts!" and "Rest if you feel an injury starting!" and that's sound advice. I don't know many people who follow it, and I'm certainly not among their ranks. Usually, my plan to ignore the pain works out well and it eventually fades away, which is why when I had pain my butt/hamstring last week, I just kept up with my running and expected it to get better.




My amateur diagnosis is that I've royally pissed off my IT band. It's a really common running injury, generally caused by overtraining or overuse. I first felt the pain a few days before I ran Stone Mill 50. You may recall that I ran the race with a heating patch on my ass and this is why. Obviously it wasn't that bad because I ran 50 miles on it (or I'm just that stupid), but I do remember that it was painful the whole day. After the race, I rested and then had a period of running less (about 40 miles a week) and everything felt good again.




Last week I started feeling the twingy pain again, but it was mostly when I was standing up or sitting down. Then I did a speed-walking workout and that was the straw that broke the camel's back and after that, I was hobbling around and had sharp stabbing pain when I tried to sit down or stand up. I could still run, so I did...like an idiot.





I'd love to say that I regret running through the pain and making things worse, but I'd probably do it again so I'm not going to lie. Basically, I needed to know for sure it wasn't just one of those things that resolves itself with no effort beyond icing and stretching from me. So since that debilitating speed walk, I ran 46 more miles until I finally decided I was making it worse. The key factor is that was my back seizing up, which I assume is connected to my hip/leg/butt issue. Currently I can't even stand up straight because of the pain in my back and I'm walking around like Igor on an errand because of the pain in my leg. Sleep has been scarce for about a week now because I can't get comfortable and the pain wakes me up.







Game plan

Rest: I'm going to start with a week of no activity. I started this yesterday and so far, I'm not healed yet. I want my money back.

Massage: I've already booked a massage with someone who specializes in sports injuries so fingers crossed that she helps and doesn't make me ugly cry on the massage table.

Icing and stretching: I'm only foam rolling every other day so I don't cross that line of helpful to hurtful.

Strengthening exercises: Once the inflammation and pain improve, I'll start with targeted strength moves. Dr. Google has already recommended several good ones for me.





Luckily, I still have three months until my race so even if I end up taking two weeks off to recover, I'll be fine because I'm not missing any key peak runs in my training plan. Of course if I don't get better then I'm up shit creek without a paddle in regards to that race, but I can't worry about that yet. I just need to be smart about this so I can con my body into thinking I love and care about it before I punish it mercilessly by making it run 100 miles.

Maybe I'll even learn from this experience and be less stupid about injuries in the future, but let's not kid ourselves.





Have you ever had an IT band injury? Tell me about it, but make sure it has a happy ending please.

63 comments:

  1. I lost my leg to an IT band injury.
    twice.

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    1. I think i saw a porno like that once.

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  2. Collect $3k for "injured Marines" and SUDDENLY YOU CAN'T RUN ANYMORE; interesting, very interesting. I have my eye on you. I've been catfished once already today, I shan't let it happen again!

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    1. You caught me in my raise money for charity scam. Well done.

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  3. I know someone who had an IT band injury. She had to have her leg amputated.

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  4. Replies
    1. She doesn't think any of us actually exist and we're all just a iOS like the movie "Her".

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  5. I did years ago, pre-running, and now I run...so that's a happy ending, right? I went through PT for it and my favorite part was the TENS machine, it felt incredible. Apparently they're relatively cheap and my neighbor has her own (she's an insane runner, like you, who likes to torture her body with ultras) and has used it to help recover from IT band issues and calf muscle issues.

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    1. I have my own TENS machine. It is about $150 and you need a prescription but it is the best thing ever. Highly recommend it!

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    2. Huh, she got hers for about $30 and without a prescription. I'm guessing though it's probably less "powerful" than a prescription-required one.

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  6. I am recovering from an ITB injury now! Just had my first physical therapy session yesterday. I RICE'd for several weeks before going to the doctor, it's getting better but just taking its sweet-ass time.

    I keep meaning to write a blog post about it but I am a terrible blogger, so I haven't.

    Hope it's feeling better soon and that amputation is not necessary!

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    1. Amputation could be awesome if I can get one of those super fast carbon fiber legs. They better do both legs just to be safe.

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  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  8. I think I'm on the brink of one right now. In week 15/18 for my first marathon. So far I've been foam rolling it and ignoring it when it hurts while I'm running. Hopefully I don't blow it out this weekend on my 20 miler. I'll take some time off after February 16th and I'll let you know how it goes.

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    1. MY ITB is a it sore today but not terribly so, I don't think I blew it out yesterday. YAY! 20.1mi - 3:56

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  9. I thought I had an IT band injury for several days. When it didn't get better, I finally went to the doctor and I have a mother effing herniated disc. Your not standing up straight bit makes me wonder if you might have this, too. It can cause sciatica, and that pain can be in the same area as the IT band.

    At any rate, I got lots of awesome drugs and am in PT and it's getting better. The best part is the whole first half of PT, I lie in a quiet room with a little back massager/stimulator thing and heating pads. I haven't told my husband that part, as he spends this time cooking dinner with the help of our 3-year-old. I might just stay in PT forever.

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    1. This comment has terrified me. Now I'm convinced my back is broken. This is worse than WebMD

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    2. Don't be too scared; it really sounds worse than it is. Once I started PT and was taking the drugs, I improved quickly! After a week I was off the drugs and could do the elliptical (I hate the stupid elliptical but it was better than nothing) and by the second week I was approved for moderate jogging. They usually heal completely within 3-4 weeks. I waited it out for 2 weeks, though, and would have healed faster had I GONE TO THE DOCTOR RIGHT AWAY.

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  10. That sounds so much like what I had last year! The pain was so bad I hauled myself to the doc. I had a hip/glute/piriformis strain. She gave me a 5-day steroid pack to calm things down. It helped tremendously. I went to physical therapy where they massaged it (after heating) and taught me a lot of stretches. I did a few sessions and then did the same thing at home myself to save money because I'm cheap. :) I was back in no time. Hope you heal up quickly!!

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    1. I hope I get steroids so I can get roid rage.

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  11. Ouch, I had IT band issues a while ago and omg the pain. I think I walked dead-legged for a month. This was back in the days when no one foam rolled so I've never tried it but I've heard that can help with ITB stuff.

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  12. I also hurt my piriformis training for my first 1/2. Back then I mocked stretching and I definitely paid for it! I've ended up with pain in both "butthas" (this is what I call the lower butt cheek/thigh area) off and on and have noticed when I fix my stride it gets better. Well that, stretching and putting a lacrosse ball under my butt cheek while grimacing in pain!

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  13. I'm just coming back from an IT injury myself! Don't at all run the kind of mileage you do, but last year I went from marathon training into double half marathon training into relay training, and all that on top of kicking a shovel for a living (yes literally), something snapped in September. It went from sharp pain while running to sharp pain all the time and I was finally crippled long about mid-October. Have been doing PT and ART (highly recommend ART!) and got back in the running saddle about a month ago. No joke--I'm feeling stronger and faster than I ever have. For what it's worth, my ART guy said to stop foam rolling while the pain was acute--something about the fibers mashing against each other and increasing inflammation. Feel better soon!

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    1. I mean ITB injury. Not IT injury. My information technology systems all seem to be fine.

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    2. I have taken this as a order to stop foam rolling. Thank you.

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  14. If that cat is trying to do the clam exercise, he's doing it wrong. I should know. I do it a little like that and my son has repeatedly told me I'm doing it wrong.

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  15. Duuuuuuuuude PT. That's all I have to say. I, according to my physical therapist, was blessed with "laughably weak hips". Apparently muscle imbalances sorta suck, but PT has been a total godsend. Plus, it's three straight hours of my week when my husband HAS TO watch the kids without me. I may or may not have stopped for ice cream by myself after PT last week. No regrets.

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    1. If I have to get PT, I'll have to get it at the same place as my kid gets speech therapy, just for scheduling alone lol

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  16. Replies
    1. Google agrees with you that I should consider this :)

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  17. I was actually thinking the same thing as Gracie while I was reading this. I've had IT band injuries and it never hurt where you said yours hurts.

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    1. As I am researching I'm realized that butt pain and ITB issues aren't usually connected. The things you learn!

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  18. I'm with the others...butt/low back pain makes me think sciatica or piriformis. But I'm just a lawyer, not a doctor. FWIW, I have success with googling anatomy images and picking the muscle /tendon/bone that hurts...seems more accurate than googling symptoms.

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    1. It could be that I suck at describing the pain. I think I'm going to have to go to a doctor for this one lol.

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    2. You should...I've had ITBS issues a couple of times, but sometimes it's in conjunction with other things, like hip bursitis (now that thing was a bitch). Worth getting it looked at, right?

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  19. I once had an IT band injury and now I'm making $5000 a week working from home. Ta-da!

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  20. I swear walking hurts your butt/low back WAY more than running. I have found that to be true for years. So far I've been able to avoid an amputation (which your supportive fan base seems to be leaning toward) by going to the chiropractor (may not be for everyone, but damn it has helped me), working on my abs (boring, but helpful) and running instead of walking. And, to combine two post comments into one, my one son had the dairy intolerance (eczema, etc.) when he was little, but grew out of it, so hopefully that will happen at your house as well.

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    1. I have high hopes that we'll have pizza nights in our future as Cordelia gets older!

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  21. If none of the normal IT Band injury solutions work mention to your doc SI joint dysfunction. Go ahead and google it, may need to have your SI joint 'popped' back in. I had/have it and it took months for them to figure it out. Now I just pop pain killers and keep running anyway, better than not running af all and at least now I have learned how to pop it in myself. Painful stuff but even if you by chance have it instead of IT band issues you should be able to keep your leg, maybe, although you may want to amputate it. Good luck.

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    1. I just visualized this "popping" and shuddered

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  22. I had a glute issue that turned into an IT issue that really pissed me off by morphing into a piriformis issue. It kept annoying me further by manifesting regularly as a hip flexor issue. I finally got the bitch x-rayed. BOOM. Severe degenerative osteoarthritis. Getting a new hip this spring. Not as obvious as a carbon fiber rail leg so no one needs to know ;-) Seriously, just run on it until it falls off. Saves money on the surgery by skipping the need to amputate before replacement.

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    1. If I get a cane, we'll have to be besties for life.

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    2. The cane was only $19.99! A bargain at twice the price! Join The Cane Club For #MotherRunners today!

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  23. I had IT band problems with one marathon I did. I had to take 6 weeks off running, but it was in my knee, not hip, and I couldn't walk, run, or do anything without having pain that had me begging for the sweet release of death. Before the next running season, I started going to the chiropracter and never had it again- through 7 more half marathons and another full. Never.Came.Back. That chiro was magic. If you're thinking it's not for you, try to find one that also does sports and physical therapy (one stop shop). My guy did it all plus acupuncture (and was hot). Oh I miss him.

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    1. This is me right now! I am working with a chiro, but have yet to really find relief. I was supposed to have a MRI today but weather has forced a reschedule.

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  24. I've had IT band issues so I foam roll that fucker into submission. And cross training ...always damn cross training. I am SO not one of those runners that can only run.

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  25. Sorry to hear this but I think it's really common sadly. I suffered with my ITB from October 2012 until March 2013 causing knee pain. I would rest all week, do the 5k parkrun on Saturday (because how hard can 5k be if you take it easy) but it just kept setting me back! I eventually had a bit of physio and started living, breathing, sleeping with a foam roller. That did the trick for me, I kept at it twice a day and one day something popped in my hip. It bloody hurt but it did the trick and now I foam roll after each run because I can't go through that again!

    Very best of luck getting it sorted so it doesn't hamper your training too much!!x

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  26. injuries suck. I did exactly what you did, not running through the pain is for wimps right? Now my running sucks compared to what it was and it has for the last 8 months. Don't be stupid like me, take care of it sooner than later.

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    1. I already made a doctor's appointment!

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  27. I agree with the hip flexor/piriformis/hamstring thing that a few other people have mentioned...I did the same thing as you a while ago and kept running on something that hurt until I eventually couldn't even sit down anymore because it felt like someone was pinching the very top of my hamstring (which is pretty much in your butt) VERY hard. No fun. It took me a little over a year to fully sort out because it kept morphing into other things (including, at one point, back and neck pain). Basically, I had weak hips, and it wasn't until I made cross training more of a priority that I started to fix it all.

    Try to find a sports chiropractor...that was what made the difference for me. If you're really lucky, they'll do Graston technique, which feels awful while they're doing it but will help a LOT. They'll teach you a bunch of PT exercises to help avoid messing it up again in the future. And sitting with the massager things and heating pads and getting a massage isn't a bad way to spend half the appointment, either. :)

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    1. I'm seeing a doc first for a diagnosis and then I may see a chiro if I need "adjustments" lol

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  28. I had an IT Band injury when I trained for a marathon 10 years ago. I ended up taking a lot of time off. More due to burnout than the IT band, but it was better when I started back up. Of course I have only run half's since then, so I don't now what would happen if I trained for a full. That's my plan this year, so we shall see:/

    I hope you feel better soon:)

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  29. I injured my IT band in 2012. Honestly, rest and massage didn't help me. What helped me was those stupid stretches and strengthening exercises. It still sometimes bothers me, but not as bad as before. I have, however, lost a lot of speed.

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    1. Awesome, I have speed to spare :)

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  30. I am the queen of IT issues. The leg exercises help. But, I have found (this would be that run-through-the-pain person or can't-sit-still person) that I can ride my stationary bike with no pain.

    I have worked with an ortho specializing in athletes (ha-ha, not sure I am really one of those) and have also worked with a sports chiro (as someone else also mentioned).
    Good luck!

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    1. Once I master walking, I will try nonimpact stuff like a bike!

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  31. I had IT band issues from mid-2011-early 2012, likely due to a bit of overtraining and too much racing. I was stubborn and had no interest in going to a dr. Eventually, with enough foam rolling and leg exercises, as well as realizing I needed to cross-train/rest at least two days a week, it finally went away. Although I do feel twinges here and there which is normally my signal I need a bit of a break. Mine mostly hurt in the knee area though. And then this past year I had piriformis...which wasn't that bad while running...just got in the way of me sitting at work for any length of time.

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  32. I have IT band issues. I injured myself in a race at the end of October 2012. I still have problems with it if I push it too hard (or do something crazy, like roller skate with my students for a couple of hours, or try to do a step class when I know I am not coordinated). I went to physical therapy last October when I finally got sick of it all, and the doctor said it was my piriformus (I was diagnosed with IT band syndrome after the initial injury). After paying tons of money and not seeing much result, I quit going and started running again. Now, I can run but I have to stretch a LOT after every workout. I also do a lot of weight lifting. I occasionally feel a little sore, but nothing too bad.

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  33. Try arnica Montana. It's a homeopathic remedy which reduces bruising, swelling and muscle stiffness. I enjoy running but hate taking Advil. I've only recently discovered it but it's worth a shot for you. I mean, why wouldn't you take medical advice from a total stranger on the internet. I mean, I've commented before so I'm not really a stranger.

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  34. TBH I didn't read all the comments so I apologize if I repeat someone else... But smells like hamstring/Piriformis/SI to me. And that's my professional opinion. As a real life PT. nyway, if it hangs on, get a script (if you need one- based on state and insurance) and see a PT. They can likely get you better faster than Dr. Google.

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