ITBS (Iliotibial Band Syndrome) and knee braces / tape
October 31, 2013 10:33 PM   Subscribe

So, I have been training for a marathon which will happen in a couple days. On my last longish run (10 miles) which was this past Sunday, had a little (very mild) pain on the lateral part of my knee, and I'm reasonably certain it's ITBS. I have a knee brace and I also have tape.

I haven't run since Sunday to be safe, and I don't have bad pain at all, just more of a 'slight annoyance' kind of thing. I'm worried though, that in the midst of the marathon I might get worse pain that might put a stop to my efforts.

Wearing the knee brace around the house feels quite comfortable and supportive even though the brace doesn't seem to be designed for this issue, but I've never run in one. The tape I've never tried.

At this late stage, any recommendations for the upcoming long run? Run in the brace? The tape? Or nothing, because any pain I have experienced has been so mild?
posted by samoa to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Do you do IT band stretches?

All of my severe and painful ITBS vanished when I started stretching it more. I reckon it'd do the same for mild pain.
posted by MonsieurBon at 10:59 PM on October 31, 2013

Please, please, please get yourself a foam roller, or at the very least a tennis ball, and do some miofascial release regularly leading up to, and definitely before the race. If it is your ITBS this will hurt like crap BUT loosen it up taking the tension off the insertion point (where it's hurting) which is pretty much the solution. Don't roll over the insertion point if it's already inflamed, go all the way from your hip to a few centimetres above the sore spot. YouTube will show you how to do the exercises and what your ITB looks like
posted by lifethatihavenotlivedyet at 11:00 PM on October 31, 2013 [7 favorites]

Nthing stretches, and rolling. Many ITB band flare ups can be resolved by those two things.

Over the longer term, consider whether you have been ramping up too quickly, and some strength training. Rolling, stretches, plus squats with a barbell resolved mine quite well.
posted by smoke at 11:24 PM on October 31, 2013 [2 favorites]

Yes, check out the stretches for the IT band--there are lots of vidoes on Youtube. When I was in PT for this issue, there were three stretches that were very helpful:

1. Get into a deep lunging position, like you are going to do a sprint. Hold it for 20-30 seconds, then switch legs.

2. Lay on a firm surface in corpse pose. Bend one knee, and cross the foot across your other leg. Either grasp the knee and gently bring it to your chest, or lift up your flexed foot, and bring that toward your chest. Hold for 20-30 seconds, then switch legs.

3. Lay on an elevated surface (like a bed). Nudge yourself to the edge of it so that you can dangle one leg. Let gravity do the stretches. Hold for as long as you want. Then, switch legs. This works really well on a massage or doctor's office exam table that is high off the ground.

I have a firm foam roller, and it is OK, but I get the most relief from consistent stretching. Good luck, and I hope you do well on your run!
posted by FergieBelle at 4:47 AM on November 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

I would throw out the brace and tape. There is very little evidence that they work.

GRID foam roller, ASAP, as well as a physical therapist. Look up some core exercises. The #1 reason people get ITBS (including me) is imbalance due to weakness in your core muscles.

Also, try to get an appointment with a PT, who will look at your form and your shoes. ITBS is something a lot of us runners live with every day, and we function because we foam roll every day. But sometimes it gets so bad that you will have to take a few weeks/months off completely. Good luck.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:00 AM on November 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

I would throw out the brace and tape. There is very little evidence that they work.

The damage they do is already done in that the money is already spent. Some placebo benefit could be handy for the current run. Plus you can use the tape for racing stripes.
posted by srboisvert at 5:58 AM on November 1, 2013

Foam roller all the way. Completely solved my ITBS a few years ago, and I still use it daily. I have a deep and spiritual relationship with my foam roller.
posted by dyobmit at 7:13 AM on November 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks, I really appreciate the answers so far. Lots of conflicting info about this topic on the web, hard to sort out. For example, this guy seems to put little stock in the rollers. (He's selling a book though for whatever that does to his 'authority'). Anyway, I greatly value hearing the experiences of fellow mefites who've had to deal with this.
posted by samoa at 8:02 AM on November 1, 2013

I have a ton of problems with ITBS. Mine won't go away because I have some actual IT band damage mixed in there as well but I make it almost manageable by foam rolling daily (I have a hate/hate relationship with my foam roller, but there is a huge improvement when I am using it religiously), stretching it every chance I get, and taping for everything longer than 3 miles or so. This is the tape that I use, with the X placed over the spot of the pain. For me, the braces do nothing, but with the tape I can almost function like a real person. Also, REST is really important...every time I start feeling a twinge in my IT band, I back way off because I know it will get worse quickly if I don't.
posted by kro at 9:04 AM on November 1, 2013

I also got ITBS when training for a marathon, and foam-rolling (along with stretching and strength-building exercises) was one of the things the physical therapist had me do to heal up. It did indeed help!
posted by Greg Nog at 10:05 AM on November 1, 2013

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