I’ve been suffering from ITBS which is one of the most common injuries in runners. It is a common injury of the knee that results from an inflamed or tight iliotibial band.
It occurs when the iliotibial band, the ligament that runs down the outside of the thigh from the hip to the shin, is tight or inflamed. The IT band attaches to the knee and helps stabilize and move the joint. When the IT band isn’t working properly, movement of the knee (and, therefore, running) becomes painful. IT band pain can be severe enough to completely sideline a runner for weeks, or even longer. – Runner’s World
This has resulted in some pretty excruciating pain, that only kicks in when I’m already into my run (usually 2 or 3km into the run), and running downhill becomes unbearable. I’d rather run up a hill – who’d have thunk it?! There are a number of causes of ITBS. As I have another 10km race coming up, I thought it’s best to figure out what was causing my ITBS, and sort out my problem before doing further damage, thereby exacerbating it into a chronic condition. With that in mind, I went to see a Biokineticist.
The bio ran a number of tests – it was so interesting learning how and why they check things and how logically things work. Through the testing, we discovered a number of issues. I have a minor Lordosis of the spine (explaining my lower back pain) but this isn’t necessarily contributing to my ITBS, as well as a slightly skew pelvis (the right side of my pelvis is slightly more anterior than the left) – again, it’s unlikely this will be contributing in a large way to my injury.
The bio is 99% sure that the problem is due to two things: My VMO muscle (a part of the quads) which is misfiring. The VMO is supposed to support my kneecap and provide stability to my knee. With it misfiring, this means that my knee is not stable and with each step I take while running, I wreak havoc on my ITB which tries to counter it. Another issue is that my glutes are very weak – this puts more strain on my ITB as it causes my pelvis to be more unstable.
The good news is that it is treatable. I have a couple exercises to keep doing to retrain my VMO to fire properly and strengthen it, and further exercises to strengthen my glutes. My bio believes that once I’ve done these things, my ITBS will be a distant memory. I’ve also started using a foam roller to help with self-myofascial release (SMR) – more on this soon.
Wish me luck!