Thursday, June 5, 2014

Road to Recovery: Week 1 Report

After weeks of dealing with bad knee pain with very little improvement I finally decided to see a doctor on Monday. I went to the sports medicine hospital in our area for an appointment with an orthopedic specialist. After a few x-rays and inspection by both the doctor himself and his physician’s assistant (PA), I was diagnosed with Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS). I had this feeling deep down that I knew that is exactly what it was, but was scared to admit it and just hoped that staying away from running for a while would do the trick.

ITBS is one of the most common injuries among runners and occurs when the IT band becomes inflamed. The IT band is a muscle that runs along the outer side of your leg, from hip to shin. There are many causes (see below excerpt from Runner’s World), and I know mine was running too hard on those downhill portions during the Alamo 13.1 half marathon in March and lack of proper recovery between my races earlier this year.

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When I first heard the diagnosis, my immediate reaction was sadness. However, after a few minutes of talking with the doctor my sadness very quickly turned to gratefulness. You see, I am very lucky – I will only be out of running for recovery for a couple of months. This easily could have been something far worse…joint problems, a need for surgery or further MRI testing. I am blessed I have something that is easily curable.

I was recommend for physical therapy and will go 2-3 times per week for 4-6 weeks. I have had my first two sessions this week on Tuesday and Wednesday and I have already learned so much. After a full leg/knee/hip evaluation by my physical therapist (PT) we started recovery techniques. This is what I have learned that I need to do so far:

Stretching – I do a set of the following stretches twice a day. The first two I alternate between every minute for 6 minutes each leg. The third stretch is done for a minute on each leg.

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Foam Rolling – I will be rolling out my IT band on each leg for a few minutes at least twice a day. The foam roller, for me, needs to go from right above my knee all the way to my hip.

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Massage – My physical therapist uses a deep pressure massage technique to work out my IT band muscles during each visit. During yesterday’s visit my PT mentioned that my IT band was extremely tight and felt like a knotted rope! A loose muscle has a bit of give to it during a massage and mine had almost no give. Yikes!

Ultrasound Therapy & Laser Therapy – I am a bit unsure of the details (hey, I’m not a doctor!) but from what I understand, these two techniques can help reduce inflammation, stimulate blood circulation, and decrease my overall recovery time.

Ice – This is something most runners do anyway and for a good reason…it helps! I will be icing my legs once a day (or when I am able, at least a few times a week).

Dedication – My PT has requested that I fully dedicate myself to recovery, meaning staying away from intense exercises for a few weeks. I can do easy swimming and cycling, walking, and yoga, but not much else. That means that my squat challenge is moving to another month unfortunately. I hope you all will still continue to do it, but I can’t this month.

Please know that this was all recommended to me personally by my doctor and physical therapist. I AM NOT A DOCTOR and am not recommending these techniques to anyone. I am merely an injured runner trying to recover, and sharing my journey. If you are experiencing any pain please consult your doctor for diagnosis and recovery techniques that will work for YOU.

After my first two visits, I am sore, but optimistic. I am learning a lot at each session and I am praying that, along with my therapy and at-home techniques, I will be back to running by August!

QOTD: Have you ever had an injury that required physical therapy?

36 comments

  1. It sounds like your PT is giving you a thorough recovery plan which is great. I love that your little pups are involved in the exercises/stretching too! I have endured PT for several injuries, one to my piriformis muscle and the other to my hamstring when I injured it during a TRX class. Most recently I have been for my dog bite injury. My PT guy is amazing and has helped me through all these issues!

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    1. Your PT sounds great! I really like mine and am hoping she can get me back to running in the next 6 weeks!

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  2. I like that shirt :) I have one just like it!

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  3. I do the first and third set of stretches, plus seated pidgeon, a quad stretch and a hamstring stretch. I figured since I was told to roll ITB, quad, hamstrings and glutes, I better foam roll all those as well, and my outer calves. Those have been tight too.

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    1. They are some really great stretches. I can definitely feel it. She gave me some core/glute exercises to do yesterday that do not use my IT band at all. I love this since I can strengthen without hurting my injury!

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  4. ITB sticks! I have had it a few times. But looks like you are doing all the right things to alleviate it. Hoping you recover soon!

    P.S. Love the puppies photo bombing :-) Too cute!

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    1. Thank you! Haha yup, they are excited to help!! :0)

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  5. I'm glad you're on your way and you'll be even stronger after that! {hugs}

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  6. Oh no! I am so sorry that you have to deal with IT band syndrome. I do hope yours is not as severe as mine was because I know how awfully painful it was. I think my IT band is on its way to recovering but it has effected my hip and citica as well. Looks like you got a good start with PT though.

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    1. I hope yours is fully recovered soon! We need to be in our prime for WDW Marathon/Dopey training!

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  7. Thankfully I've never had an injury that requires PT! I'm had you've finally figured out what was causing your pain so you can heal and get better. It looks like the puppies are ready to help as well!

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    1. I am so glad I have it figured out too! And yup, the pups are always excited to help me stretch by giving me kisses lol!

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  8. Ugh ITBS sounds awful. I'm glad you figured it out and are on your way to recovery! I always roll out my IT Band to try and avoid this. I'll be doing the squat challenge for you, and my booty hates me for it haha. Get well soon, you'll be back to running in no time!

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    1. Yeah after all this, I'll be taking preventative measures waaaaay more seriously. I thought I was doing a good job, then made a couple mistakes and BOOM injury. Never again lol!

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  9. Good for you taking charge! My husband has IT problems so bad... I have runners knee (the inside of the knee) - I said between the both of us, we're useless :)
    But yes, glad you got it early & doing things NOW to prevent it being worse.
    Thanks for sharing your stretches/PT moves with us!

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    1. You are very welcome!! :0) I hope you and your husband are fully healed soon!

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  10. I'm really sorry to hear i is your IT band, but I love your attitude because your right it could be much worse. A few months following the Dr and PT recommendations and hopefully you'll be back to running again. It actually a great thing you caught it early and visited a Dr. A lot of people wait and then it gets so bad by the time they finally do, they can be out a year or longer. That is an awesome fact right there, a few months will fly by... Recover fast:)

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    1. Thanks Kristy!! I am hoping that it is a quick recovery and that I'm able to start training for Wine & Dine in August!

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  11. I'm so sorry to hear you won't be running for a few months, but like you said, thank goodness you don't need surgery! Now you can take this time to discover some new passions and workouts :). I hope you have a successful and speedy recovery!

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    1. Exactly :0) Surgery would be terrible! Thanks for the well wishes Nicole!

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  12. I'm sorry to hear about your ITBS :( At least you won't need surgery though! It sounds like you're on your way to recovery, so I'm sending some happy thoughts your way :) Love your dogs in the photos by the way!

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    1. Thank you Jamie! The pups somehow know exactly when we are taking pics and they love to photo bomb lol!

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  13. That sucks! But at least you've got a plan to recovery that doesn't involve surgery. I will be thinking recovery type thoughts for you!

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  14. I'm glad you've got a diagnosis and what sounds like a great plan to recover from this! Sending good vibes!

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  15. Sorry to hear about this. :( BUT...you have a great attitude, and it sounds like you're doing everything right, and you'll be back to business before you know it! It definitely could have been worse, and I'm so relieved you don't need surgery. I "LOL"ed at your dogs in the picture; when I lived at home and used to work-out in the basement, my shih tzu would be all over me. Try doing crunches with a dog who wants to sit on your stomach or lick your face...hahaha.

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    1. I am very relieved that it isn't worse as well :0) Plus, I have heard that after a short hiatus from running, you can come back even stronger! So I have that to look forward to!

      I hear you on the dog front, mine always like to lick my face when I am doing stretches or floor exercises lol!

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  16. I feel sorry about your injury, I know that for runners like you it's so hard to suddenly not be able to run for a quite some time. You look fantastic for someone that has been injured and you seem to be holding up really well.Times like this that you'll be thankful that you have a good doctor you can trust to recommend you with a great physical therapy plan that is personalized for you. I recently read an article that says a positive attitude speeds up the healing and recovery process, If that is true then you'll sure be back on tip top shape in no time.

    Regards,
    Toni Simpson

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    1. Thank you so much for the encouragement Toni! :0)

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  17. Thanks for linking up with us! ITBS is such a nasty injury, but it sounds like you have a great doctor and a really good plan for recovery! I love your puppy photo bombers, they are so adorable! Hope you are feeling better soon!

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    1. My PT and doctor are both awesome. I hope running is in my future by August!

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