Last Saturday, I hurt my left knee. I hurt my knee so bad I was unable to bend it. I was unable to walk up and down the stairs. I hurt my knee so bad it was swollen for an entire week.
An entire week.
After showing my boss and co-worker my knee on Monday at work, they immediately instructed me to see a doctor. They both suffer from knee problems of their own and the fact that it was still swollen after two days was definitely a cause for concern.
I began the process of calling orthopedic specialists in the DC area, preferably close to my work, only to find out that they were not taking new patients at this time or that their earliest appointment was for mid-September. Considering I had the Virginia Beach Rock n Roll Half Marathon the Sunday following the incident, I couldn’t wait until mid-September for an appointment.
Because what if I was still able to compete in the half marathon?
I started calling specialists closer to my house. Luckily, someone recently had a cancelation and I could come see the doctor on Friday.
I took the entire week off from exercise. I didn’t go to the gym. I didn’t talk a walk around my neighborhood. I didn’t run. Nothing. It was a terrible week for cardiovascular fitness.
But what was I supposed to do? Risk aggravating my knee further and then completely ruin any chance of competing on Saturday? Ugh terrible.
Friday came and my knee was still swollen.
I went to the doctor. After x-rays and exam he and his assistant came to a decision.
The diagnosis? Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITBS/IT Band Syndrome).
Common training causes that I am GUILTY of (from Wikipedia):
- Always running on a banked surface (such as the shoulder of a road or an indoor track) bends the downhill leg slightly inward and causes extreme stretching of the band against the femur. (I typically run on the shoulder of the road/sidewalk and it definitely is not flat or smooth)
- Inadequate warm-up or cool-down (totally guilty of just going out there and running and then coming home and not doing any stretches)
- Excessive up-hill and down-hill running (the loop I do is a constant up-hill/down-hill run and I usually circle it at least 2 times)
- Running up and down stairs (every weekday I run down the escalator steps at the metro station and some mornings I run up them. Total # of steps I run in one instance? 90)
Feet abnormalities that contribute to IT Band Syndrome (from Wikipedia):
From what it sounds like, I’ve done this to myself. Absolutely terrible. Depending on how I train from now on this may continue to be an issue or might just flare up on it own.
Does this mean I can never run again? Absolutely not. But, I do need to train smarter. I need to think more about what is best for my body, not just what I want to be doing.
For the next few weeks, the doctor instructed me to do daily stretches and to focus on cross training. The more I try to run before it is better, the more it will continue to be a pain in the
I am not thrilled with this diagnosis, but there are worse things.
As Chris put it, “You got a true runners injury.”
Yeah, I sorta did.
Do you have knee problems? What do you do for them? Have you suffered from IT Band Syndrome? Any tips? Let’s discuss!!