During a 5-miler in March, I felt a sensation similar to what I imagine it would fee like if someone tried to forcibly remove your kneecap with a crowbar. I was a measly mile in, but I’d already collected my shirt and dag-nabbit, I was going to earn it and the beer I’d already paid for. Plus, there was a medal involved, and combined with the medals from the two other races in the series, it made a wicked cool shamrock shape. Sold.
I tried taking it easy for a few weeks and letting it heal itself, but after about 2 months, I could still only run a mile or so before the pain was back. I was so frustrated! I had just started to like this running thing and I’d made a big deal about registering for a half marathon and running a race every month, and here I was… sidelined.
To the Google machine!
I did what anyone my age would do… I Googled until I was blue in the face to figure out what was wrong with my knee. After some serious search sessions (woooo, alliteration!), I self-diagnosed myself (I feel like Austin Powers) with IT Band Syndrome. Without getting into the detail– Google it yourself, for crying out loud!– the IT band is a strip of tissue that connects your hip bone to your knee bone/joint/whatever/I’m not a doctor. With overtraining, it can become irritated and feel like someone’s taking your kneecap off with a crowbar. Ding, ding, ding!
I searched around some more and talked to friends and learned that serious stretching and foam rolling helps a lot, as can new running shoes. I picked up some new kicks, tortured myself a bit with the foam roller, and still nothing.
Mum’s (and Dan’s) always right
They were both on my case for not seeing someone, so when I had 2 months of self-treatment under my belt with no relief, I relented. I caved and finally went to the doctor. Thank God Mum works for an orthopedic group. I’m not ashamed to admit I name-dropped to get an appointment sooner– girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.
After some awkward stretching, an X-ray, and an MRI, my suspicions were confirmed: IT Band Syndrome.
The prescription was basically the same: foam roller, stretching a whole bunch. The new addition is 600 mg of ibuprofen twice a day for two weeks to help with the inflammation and potential physical therapy. I’m hesitant to jump straight into therapy because of the cost and time factor, so I’m going to ask a couple of my aunts (who are physical therapists, btw… not just randomly asking any of my aunts though they all have many and varied talents and I love them all very much) for a few specific stretches and exercises that would help. I’m trying to keep up with the stretching and roller-torture on my own, and the ibuprofen does seem to help a lot.
How about you?
Have you dealt with training injuries? Have your own spate of knee problems? Feel my pain, literally or figuratively? I’d love to hear all about it.