View Full Version : IT band issues (I think)?

04-17-2007, 08:01 AM
The season is finally here. I spent the last month working out my anxieties about crashing or getting hit by a car. I have been spinning indoors all fall and winter. The last month I have been struggling with pain on the outside of my right knee about 30-40 minutes into my workout, depending on how many sprints I do. I stopped spinning for 2 weeks, went back week before last and could only do about 10 minutes before it started hurting again:eek: . I am almost positive it is an issue with my body mechanics, I have external rotation in both hips and knees. I have just the basic shimano spds, I think I may need to look at a pedal with more float, speedplay or Performance Bike has a Forte pedal with about 9 degrees. I think my currents have about 4 degrees. Anyone else struggle with this? Our insurance is brutally awful and we are still paying for some tests had last year, so I don't want to incurr another bill right now.

04-17-2007, 08:53 AM
please be more specific describing the pain and location.

04-17-2007, 09:31 AM
The side of my knee, about where it bends. Once it starts hurting, just the motion of bending and straightening is very painful. I run and swim as well, none of that exacerbates it. Just cycling. Afterwards, it is very tight and feels a bit inflamed. Does that help?


04-17-2007, 11:34 AM
I had to take about 2 months completely off from running a few years ago because of ITBS. It got so bad I was having trouble making it up and down stairs.

Since then, I've been running more seriously (I'm currently training for a marathon, so lots of training volume), and it hasn't returned. I've found that two things really make a difference -- stretching, especially after a long run, including stretches for the entire lower body (hamstrings, glutes, quads, calves, hips), and building up slowly if getting back into training after a "slow period." Both tightness and muscle imbalances can contribute to ITBS. Personally, I think cycling year round has helped keep the ITBS from coming back, since it keeps my legs in good condition, and if I do take time off from running I don't come back with deconditioned muscles/ligaments.

I'm no expert -- I'm sure one of the PTs on the board can offer a better answer to this question -- but I don't know that having MORE float would necessarily be helpful for IT band issues, since the inflammation is caused by a tight band of fascia tissue rubbing back and forth over the knee as it bends -- and it would seem to me that having more lateral movement in the knee (allowed by pedals with more float) might actually tend to irritate it more.

Good luck -- this can really hurt and can take a frustratingly long time to resolve.

Also, are you icing? Makes a huge difference (My freezer always contains the following: ice cream, a bottle of good gin, five ace bandage ice wraps!). As does Advil if your stomach can take it. For the past two weeks -- to my great displeasure -- I've been sidelined from running with peroneal tendinitis (foot injury -- luckily I can still ride my bike, since my stiff cycling shoes prevent the motion that irritates it). Since the Advil/ice wasn't doing it, the PT I've been working with is starting something called "iontophoresis" -- they take a gel-pad soaked in steroids, tape it on the injured area, and apply electrical current to it -- weird! -- but I think it is sometimes used for ITBS as well. If you're having a hard time getting rid of it.

04-17-2007, 12:48 PM
I was afraid of that, I was hoping :o that there would be some kind of magic, and I could go for a ride tonight LOL. I don't have any problems when I run. I ran 8 miles last night, lots of hills, it was hard, but no pain or discomfort at all. I thought maybe more float would help because the pedals I have now fix my feet straight forward, which is not natural for me. HMM, I have a few relatives who are PT's, I should just bite the bullet and make and appointment. It's nice because one is a triathlete, so that is helpful.

I am a spinning instructor as well as pilates and other group aerobics classes. So I stretch and strenghthen something everyday. But maybe I need to be more specific.


Jen L

04-19-2007, 07:22 AM
After a week of no cycling. I went to a spin class last night. It's snowing this week here. I made it through 40 min before it started to hurt. I didn't do any sprinting and I tried to keep my cadence in a circle. I think it might be getting better. Hope so, I wanted to to Little Red in June, it's only 37 miles, but that is longer than 40 min.


04-19-2007, 10:04 AM
If it's an IT band issue then high cadence spinning, sprinting, low cadence muscular tension intervals, and TT-type intervals (i.e. tempo pace, high cadence, pulling knees towards the top tube) are all things that stress your IT bands.

If anything, stretching your IT bands are essential for everyone who's an endurance athlete. ESPECIALLY runners. They're notorious for IT problems. There are a ton of great stretches out there for them. You could probably just google them and find some pictures to show you how.

If it is really bad then icing is super important. One thing that works really well is doing ice massages. Dixie cups filled 3/4 with water and put in the freezer. This way you just peel some of the cup away and massage in circles going up and down the whole side of your upper leg. As the ice melts, just peel more off.

Another thing that I highly recommend is buying "The Stick". It's awesome. I just recently purchased one (~1 month ago) and I LOVE it. Though it does deliver a good amount of pain when rolling over your IT bands as well as the same part but on the lower leg. The pain is important because it tells you that there's a lot of funk in there and needs to be worked out. The Stick is great for rolling over your legs before/after workouts. You can do it whenever you want or however long you want. I def recommend getting one.

04-19-2007, 09:21 PM
"The Stick" (aka "Tiger Tail") is groovy!

I have major cr@ppy tight IT bands. I discovered the extraordinary joy of Speedplay Frog clipless pedals. No more knee pain! http://www.speedplay.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.frog

Frogs are super-float pedals, your foot is never locked in so your knee/hip are free to do what they will. I've found that the muscular work (at the hip rotators) needed to keep me from accidentally unclipping from the Frogs has improved my leg mechanics to the point that I can run much more comfortably than before (when I used toe-clips).

04-20-2007, 02:04 AM
I think what has been bothering my hip from running (TFL muscle) is also radiating into my ITB now.... argh. classic running problem.

I have made the resolution to be a very good girl about stretching. And indulging in more massages.

This guy (http://www.slowtwitch.com/mainheadings/longrun/itband.html) suggests a stretch that I can even do before I get up in the morning :-) - and MAN did it "itch" this morning from hip to ankle... I'm very tight.

04-20-2007, 12:51 PM
Equus123, thank you for you suggestions. I do believe sprinting in class is what caused the problem. I don't cycle in to winter and we moved to a new town last summer. I didn't have any classes to teach, so I started taking classes at a local gym. I never did the zero resistance super fast sprints before. My body immediately said NO! But I just had to beat myself into submission. I have always found things out the hard way.

I understand training those fast twitch muscles, but I never taught anything in my class that wouldn't be taken from the road. To some extent, the two aren't enough alike to really mimic a road ride.

Is the Stick similar to a foam roller. I have one I used on my hamstring after an injury last year. Ouch, it is a bit painful, but it reall worked out the kinks.

I believe I am on the road to recovery, I am so glad I caught it before it started to effect my running as well.

Jen L

04-22-2007, 07:19 AM
I had five years of that type of knee pain, was mis diagnosed,and finally went to see a gait specialist who gave me a prescription stretching program. I would highly recommend seeing a sports specialist to get a correct diagnosis

here's the exact program, good luck.

04-24-2007, 06:19 PM
I had painful IT band issues from running last year, and after learning some stretches I haven't had any problems this year (knock wood). These stretches really helped me: http://www.howtostretch.com/iliotibi.htm

As a bonus, the pictures of the guy demonstrating the stretches are kind of hilarious to me.

Mr. Bloom
04-25-2007, 02:28 AM
Jen, here's a thread that I started thinking that my problem was the LCL, but it was the ITB


You can also search "knee pain" and find some good links in other threads.

I slowed down my cadence and stopped pushing so hard on speed, and I'm better a week later.

It's amazing to me how much Biofreeze helps!