Friday, February 10, 2012

A Runner's Nightmare: Iliotibial Band Syndome

Have you heard of Tennis elbow? Sure!! What about a runner's knee??

        With my little experience with running I never thought an injury can keep me away from exercising and mainly running for that long! After I made an ambitious New Year resolution, my left knee started to hurt from outside. I thought 1 or 2 days of rest will do the work and I will be back on my feet running.. i wish it was true!!
January 1st after running a nice 8 km with Running Repel on the Lint “ New Year Run” , my knee situation went only downhill.
The next day I couldn’t walk the stairs but also I couldn’t walk at all without pain!!! This is really a nightmare for a girl who is so ambitious as I am!! I stayed positive and kept convincing myself it will go away and I will be ready to run Egmond HM on 8th of January, Unfortunatelly Egmond has to wait another year! I decided to see a physiotherapist just to have a look and to reassure me that it is nothing serious and that the pain will go away in couple of days! Well I definitely heard what I didn't want to hear. He said I am suffering from Iliotibial Band Syndome (ITB).

What is ITB, I have never heard of it!

The iliotibial band, is a connective tissue sheet that runs along the outside (lateral) thigh. It connects to the crest of the pelvis (where you would put your hands if I said put your hands on your hips) to the shin bone (tibia) just below the knee. The IT band's anatomy is complex but it's main job is to stabilize the knee. Most people are blissfully unaware of the IT band's existence until it starts giving them pain: iliotibial band syndrome.
The syndrome typically gives pain on the lateral aspect of the knee, especially if running downhill or walking downstairs. Other than a sprain, the pain is on the outside of the knee, so it makes diagnosis pretty easy. At the upper outer thigh, the ITB passes over the greater trochanter, which is a bony prominence of the femur close to the hip joint. If the ITB is tight it may rub against the greater trochanter and give upper "hip" pain.
I thought maybe physio # 1 didn't know what he was talking about because I was still hoping I could hear the answer I wanted to I decided to have a second opinion but Physio # 2 gave me the same answer!!! With a big disappointment I started a little bit to accept the idea but as stubborn as I am I really had to go to physio # 3 for a last opinion, maybe he had something else to tell me. Of course nothing new came from Physio # 3. From that moment the idea of resting and not running started to grow in my little head.

It has been over 30 days without running  and that was hard just because when you enjoy something so much it is always hard to stop doing it! Running has taught me about myself, it has pushed my limits , tested and proved my work ethic, my dedication, my will and resiliency. It made me stronger and developed my character it has also given me more than normal amount of time of serious introspection time. Running mainly  brings peace and happiness to my life as well as pain - but the pain brings appreciation and growth.
Yes, I am aware that running isn't the only activity in existence that can bring this to a person, but it has been a very effective source in my life, and I think it can be for most people.

Since last week I am allowed to start building up my running but I haven’t managed to run more than 30 min without pain. I am appreciating every minute I can run…  On Sunday 12/2 I Will have to miss another race “Schoorl’ . I am a bit disappointed but I have a lifetime in front of me to run races and be a fast runner! For now I will be enjoying a nice relaxing weekend with my family in Schoorl and on Sunday I will be cheering up for my TL friends!

Pain is temporary,
It may last a minute,
Or an hour ,
Or a day,
Or a year ,
But eventually it will subside and something else will take its place.
If I quit, however,it last forever .
(Lance Armstrong)


  1. Take your time (I know it's hard) to recouver and to return to be the fast lady we know !! I know she is out there and she will return !!
    Herstel snel Fast Lady !!

  2. I'd tried to comment from my iphone, but that didn't work so now I finaly can comment from my laptop.
    You descripe so well what running does for you.. it has the tendency to deffine you. On a ordinary day looking outside the window and wishing you could run (...) or driving through the countryside and thinking:'what a nice place to run'.
    I hope so much that your recovery will soon be a nightmare from the past and you return stronger than before (if that is even possible)!