I started having ITB problems at the end of last summer after not running much for a year and a half. It showed up as hip pain through the day; not while running once I got loosened up. But it was problem enough through the day that I laid off running through the winter. The long rest did not help.
Now I am back to running again, but with more stretching and exercising the ITB. Especially the sideways leg lifts. This is working well for me.
I also incorporate some brief periods of sideways and backwards running during a workout. The sideways running works the legs laterally, good for the ITB. And backwards is springy landing on the balls, good calf workout. It is good to exercise more muscle groups than are used in just running forward. Just like taking the shoes off exercises more of the feet and ankles.
Ibuprofin can help severe ITB pain.
I often will stop during a training run (or even a race, since I'm not winning anyway) several times to add other exercises and stretching. The stretching is more effective when the muscles are warmed up, and can be done several times on a run.
As barefooters, we know there is more than one way to run. Running barefoot opens us up to adding some creative variation to running. My dog sometimes helps me with this. Running should be for you and fun. Barefoot running is fun!
Jeffrey Ferris <jferris1955@...
Hello Dragon Pete and barefooters and the curious,
I have had some problems with the ITB as well. It shows up as pain and stiffness in my hips. I now do leg lifts as Ken recommends, but add some lying on each side in addition to regular ones. Hold the leg up for 3-5 sec. Anywhere from 10-50 per day. I sometimes do them in bed in the morning while under the covers before getting up. The covers actually provide a little resistance, as well as getting some exercise done before even getting up.
Stretching for this is more complicated to explain. As runners, most of the stretches we have learned are in the same plane as our forward motion. e.g. the infamous wall-leaning calf stretch. The ITB requires some lateral stretching. For this I lie on my back and bring the right knee up to my chest; then hold the ankle with the left hand and push the side of the knee with the right, trying to pull the whole leg to the left. As the ankle is pulled further than the knee, the stretch is felt in the ITB. Then of course repeat for the other leg.
Some self-massage may also be helpful. I am a big fan of icing for many of this type of injury as well.
And for anyone wondering what an ITB is: The ilio tibial bands are on the outside of the thighs running from the hip to the knee. My understanding is that it is fascia tissue between the skin and the muscles that holds everything together. It is somewhat common for runners to have problems there because it is a direction of stretching and exercising that we are ignoring.
Also, avoid doing the hamstring stretch where you pull your heel up to your butt while standing. There are better ways to stretch the hamstrings.
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