Tag Archives: ITBS

A roller, a roller, my kingdom for a roller

61 dFeEhrnL._SL500_AA300_I’ve been desperately hunting around Malaysian sports shops looking for a foam roller, which you may remember was a big part of my miracle cure for ITBS.

Admittedly my current plans for heavy running training have been somewhat curtailed by  breaking the treadmill but we’re hunting for a gym I can use (only madmen would run outdoors in the 34 degree heat, torrential tropical thunderstorms and / or mosquito haven). Also, without incurring cost-prohibitive data roaming charges, I don’t have Runkeeper here to track distance/pace, and so my motivation for outdoor running falls to zero…

Unfortunately, either Malaysian runners don’t suffer from ITBS (despite previous assurances from doctors in the UK that it was the most common running injury), or… people here don’t really run, and running/sports shops are for trendiness only.Given there is a KL marathon the latter doesn’t seem too likely, but garrrrrrrrrrr all the same.

I may have to resort to tying together several yoga mats into a tight roll and seeing whether that will help. Any Malaysian runners out there can help me find one of these???

The ‘litmus run’

For those of us who don’t remember our primary school chemistry, the litmus test uses a special bit of  paper  which contains a chemical extracted from lichen to indicate if a solution is acid or alkaline – turning red for acid and blue for alkaline.

My ‘litmus run,’ as Sudhir put it, was designed to gauge how effectively the physio exercises have been at treating my injury and if I’ve learned to run in a ‘good’ way – with the right muscles activating and my poor battered IT band left well alone.

Well, I’ve done two runs in the last couple of days – in intervals of 4 minutes of running to two minutes of walking with four running intervals yesterday and five today. And I feel OK in the IT band (although the foam rolling is more painful post-run). The total distance covered – a rather pitiful 7.5k or so – isn’t indicative of much but the fact that totally different muscles to usual are feeling it – my calves and hamstrings, mainly – makes me think that I’m doing something better.

Not 100% convinced I’ve completely sorted it out, however, so the run not as effective as litmus paper. I’m going to go back to physio early Tuesday morning – but at least I’m once again blogging about running, and not, erm, not running.

The worrying thing is my fitness seems a bit poorer (probably not helped by running on diet) after the interval of not running. Hoping that I can get enough roadtime in ahead of the half in a few weeks time to make it through non stop, without injury – all the achievement I can hope for at this point.

Wish me luck!


At least, a kind of fleeting victory over this ITBS injury. Today, I jumped for Sudhir. First horizontally in some kind of monstrous modern-age torture-rack-pilates equipment-type thing, then for realz… then I ran on a treadmill… and it all seemed to be OK! Yes, the right leg is still a little unsteady but strength is building, I’m pain-free in the knee (so far), and tonight’s rolling was only slightly painful!

Which means… I’m ready for a “litmus test” run – 15 minuter with gaps – to see how I hold up. The foam roller unfortunately must be a constant companion for me, but the fact that — come Saturday, anyway — I could be jogging it up again fills me with excitement and not a little satisfaction that the pain and tedium of the various physio exercises is paying off.

And Sudhir does seem to be earning his keep, yay for good physios!

Anyway, wish me luck.

Physio week 4: getting impatient

So, I’ve been studiously doing the physio exercises, and, miracle of miracles – the ITB rolling doesn’t even hurt any more! But – I need more strength in the relevant weak muscles (quads, etc) so on Thursday I learn how to jump.


I know how to jump. I know how to bend my knee. I know how to run. But evidently everything I know is very slightly wrong.

Unlearning my bad habits is unbelievably tedious and nearly as frustrating as the perpetual hunger that surrounds dieting (now back in medium swing). I’m very, very tempted just to pop out for a quick 5k tomorrow morning to see if the physio sessions and exercises to date have had an impact – but is that a terrible idea? I suspect so… the last thing I want to do is delay my complete recovery. But the half marathon is weeks away (6 weeks!) and its been a long while since I’ve run more than 10k.

Any encouragement, advice, wisdom appreciated. In the meantime, I will fume quietly in the corner, trying not to run….

Ongoing ITBS treatment saga

My physio Sudhir is on holiday this week, on a meditation retreat (!), so he’s having his colleague torture me for the week.

Anna was disappointed to hear of the forgotten orthotic as it limits the exercises I can do, but instead I received a pummelling to my ilio-tibial band, more acupuncture and instruction in stepping up and stepping down (I’m sure regular readers will not be surprised that even the act of climbing up one step I can screw up…).

I was also subjected to “active stretching” for my hamstrings – code for my resisting a reasonably painful stretch – but did feel distinctly more limber after it, if slightly sore.

It’s odd, having gotten so used to the orthotics  correcting my flat-footedness, even a day and a half without them has me feeling slightly weird of leg. Hopefully it’ll arrive in the post tomorrow and the regular routine can resume – now supplemented with elaborate “clam” exercises for my glutes (which I need to be working to exhaustion a couple of times a day, apparently). Ah well.

In related news, the diet continues. I’ve managed to keep to it for 5/6 days now, 1,500 calories or thereabouts a day, only breaking the day of a pair of friends’ engagement drinks (although I broke it in style thanks to the BBQ – doubling my calorie limit for the day). Hopefully the weight loss will resume shortly and I can at least prepare to have less weight to carry around the half-marathon circuit! I’ll blog more about the diet over on Division6, seeing as it involves soup once again and that’s more a topic for that blog…

Keeping up diligence with my ITBS physio exercises

This isn’t easy.  It’s never been easy to maintain a fixed regimen of daily, tedious, repetitive, and in this case distinctly painful exercises. My routine involves:

  1. Morning rolls on the foam roller – 3x sets of 10 with pauses on the particular pain points for as long as I can bear. I started just on the injured side but am extended to both legs as my left side seems pretty tight too.
  2. Knee bends – 3x set of 10, one legged, slow, pointing my kneecap between my second and third toes (working against my tendency to roll in). Just the right leg at the moment.
  3. Standing on one leg for 2 minutes (more uncomfortable than it sounds)
  4. Hamstring stretches

I’m probably worst at forcing discipline with (4), as is always the issue with stretching.

However, between my newfound passion for running and determination to get on the road again, and my primary external motivating factor (wanting to be in shape and impress my beautiful, increasingly pregnant wife who is understandably scornful about my determinations on quantifying pain) – I’m managing something of a routine. As I head to the village this weekend, I take with me a foam roller and all the willpower I can muster.

Wish me luck – hopefully next week I hop, which is the last recovery stage before being allowed out on the roads again – but it might be a couple of weeks yet!

Postscript: Sorry this is turning into an injury blog at the moment. normal running service will resume soon as I can manage it!

These feet are made for… falling over

ITBS Physio session number 3: I learn how to bend my knee.

Single knee dips are my focus for the week – trying to do so without rolling my right kneecap in or my pelvis sideways, both tendencies I have. The former is a consequence, apparently, of my flatfootedness and tendency to pronate.

Upshot of all of this is lots more physio over the next couple of weeks, lots more painful rolling on reinforced foam rollers, lots of hamstring stretches and eventually – hopefully by mid/late August – I’ll be able to hop on one leg and demonstrate to Sudhir that I’m able to run again.

Giving me less than four weeks to complete my training for the half-marathon. At best.

It’s massively frustrating, and even worse my weight has gone up a bit due to poor diet control in the last month or so. I’m reinstating Gyminee this week so will try to regain control there, and keep my snout out of the office biscuit tin.

Encouragement appreciated…

ITBS treatment: phase 2

I had really hoped that when I saw Sudhir today that I would be given a running and schedule and sent back to resume my training. Such was not to be.

Instead, I underwent:

  • Acupuncture – which apparently works by stimulating blood flow to damaged areas that your body may have ‘forgotten’ is damaged. The 1.5 cm length of needles going into my skin didn’t hurt, surprisingly, but when Sudhir twisted them, making an analogy about slicing through a steak with a knife, the combination of the pain and the disconcerting metaphor shook me somewhat
  • Cupping – which isn’t a thing that dirty tailors do when they’re measuring you up for a suit, but a chinese massage theraphy involving the creation of suction in a cup, and then pulling that over your skin. It looks a bit bizarre but wasn’t too bad an experience.
  • A couple of other types of massage on the IT-band on my right leg.
  • Being taped up with kiniesthiotape (or something: essentially long strips of sports tape) which will stay on for a week in its bright blue splendour. The idea is to provide a passive reminder of which muscles are overtight and which are underused.

Sudhir helps sell me on this stuff by explaining in more scientific detail than I can absorb how each of these therapies is having a bio-mechanical impact on my recovery.

Tonight, I did my own remedial work at home, having received the polystyrene roller from the store I found on Amazon. It involved:

  • Rolling around on the roller, putting my weight on the IT-band. OUCH, goddamn that thing hurts. I mean really, like you wouldn’t believe.
  • Clams – to strengthen my glutes.
  • Leg raises – to loosen my hamstrings and work my quads.

And that was it. Having to do this on a daily basis will be substantially less satisfying than running, but as Sensei Paul said to me tonight, I need to shift my targets and expectations and take it at a sensible pace or I’ll risk further injury.

Next visit to Sudhir is on Tuesday; will see what comes next. First I have a weekend down the South Coast, where it will take all my will to keep the exercises up…

Iliotibial band syndrome, apparently

I saw Sudir at the Westminister Physiotherapy centre today in a bid to heal myself faster and get myself back into my full training regimen. Good news; Sudir’s amazing blend of Eastern and Western science has a treatment programme ready for me; bad news; no running till Thursday at least and a reduced schedule whilst I heal from what he thinks is the dreaded (apparently) Iliotibial Band Syndrome (I think). Read more here.

In brief; I have an imbalance in my leg muscles, very tight in the Iliotibial band, very weak in the inner quad and glute. I have a range of dispiriting and painful stretching exercises to do and will shortly be ordering a ‘foam roller‘ and some tennis balls (!)  to help with my recovery. Other treatment will include strapping myself up with special sports tape and some acupuncture – which is a new one for me… but I trust Sudir, he’s a great guy and exudes knowledge and, for me, this translates into confidence. It could be complete BS, but it doesn’t sound like it, and his assessments all carry a logic to them that he explains as part of the consultation.

It’s massively frustrating, but good to know there isn’t a structural issue with the joint. It makes the GP’s assessment completely wrong and means that I’ll have to stretch these muscles out for the rest of my (long distance running) life, but at least there’s a plan for recovery now. Not sure I’ll be in great shape for the New Forest Half, but I’ll give it everything I got.

Anyone else had to contend with this?