Monday, January 3, 2011

Physical Therapy is Hard/IT Band Syndrome

Well, after having knee pain off and on since mid November, I finally saw the doctor last week. They took x-rays on Monday, and nothing showed up. I met with the orthopedist on Thursday. Diagnosis: IT band syndrome. Cause: weak hips and core. Perscription: Physical therapy and a whole lotta cross training. So after I met with the orthopedist, I went right to physical therapy associated with the University of Rochester with a nice therapist named Amanda. It's funny, when I was younger, I wanted to be a physical therapist. I even spent all of my Saturday mornings in high school volunteering at a PT unit at a local hospital. I eventually came to realize I didn't have the science abilities to do it, which is why went for history instead. Still, I have a tremendous respect for physical therapists, and Amanda was no different. Enthusiastic and smart - just what I needed She had me do some exercises with a band to stretch out my quads/hamstrings and strengthen the IT band. They were hard! She said to do those 2 times a day. Yesterday I got on the elliptical for an hour, and did the same today. No pain on the elliptical, so that will be a big part of my (cross) training, along with swimming.
Went back to physical therapy today for a double session, since I am leaving Rochester tomorrow to go back to DC. This was very intense! Last week, I had 5 exercises to do - she added about 6 more to do. Lots of hip ab/adductions and some others. I was exhausted by the end - the exercises really single out the problem areas. But at the same time, they'll make them a whole lot stronger. I am choosing to be optimistic about this, and I hope this will faciliate an easy return to regular running in the near future. I still very much have my eyes on Boston - it just might be a different kind of training series than normal - less mileage for sure.
I remember seeing Meb K doing some of these exercises in the RW video "Meb Comes Back Again." So, I'll do what the pros are doing - he came in 5th in Boston last year, not too shabby. 2011 is starting off much different than 2010 did, but that doesn't mean I can't be tenacious and subsequently, victorious as I go down this different path. So we'll see. I am learning much more about ITBS, but also about how to strengthen my weak spots too. Here's to strong hips!


  1. Hang in there Van!!! I could barely run 10 years ago (Pelvic Torsion - muscle imbalance in the hip/legs) - found a killa' PT and within 3 weeks I was runnin' (well not fast but I was runnin'). I still do a lot of the same exercises to this day! Signed, Mac

  2. Yes hang in there--there is life after ITBS. Glad you're treating the root of the problem.

  3. You may be surprised how much stronger you will be come April. I have piriformis syndrome off and on and a lot of the stuff I learned from PT has helped me manage it very well. It is amazing how easy it is to forget all of those small stabilizer muscles until there is an imbalance or overuse. Keep those exercises in your bag of tricks even when the ITB is gone. Here's to an awesome 2011 (I'm raising my powerade zero up in cheers)!!!

  4. Ugh, I feel your pain. Literally! Like KC (above), I've struggled with piriformis pain on and off since 2006. I later learned that everything is "cause and effect" and that ITB and a herniated disc were the real issues but they presented with other symptoms. The most important thing is to keep up the the PT exercises (something I detest!)