Monday, May 7, 2012

Road to Recovery

After much research and experimentation I'll now publish my thoughts on the most effective approach to coping with Iliotibial Band Syndrome. It should be noted that this is a nasty little injury and must be attacked in an aggressive manner, as it will not go away on its own. It's also a deceptive injury that made me think many times that I am “cured” but I was wrong!

You have to be mentally strong and keep seeing things positively, which it was not in my situation but you live and learn! Mentally I was broken, since December it just seemed running and me were not getting along at all!! It was a serious fight, I fight the pain and the pain was fighting me… Without the right attitude the pain will always win! I was everyday trying to run and everyday I was getting disappointed and I didn’t want to try anything else, I was more negative than positive and  the main thing that was missing is believing in myself, which delayed the whole recovery process.  

So lately for short you could call me Mrs Google, I haven’t left one document on the internet, I didn’t read about it! The more you read the more you start dreaming about Mr Google and this can drive you insane!!
Advice DO NOT GOOGLE an injury you end up with nightmares! So I had to experiment lots of things I read and honestly you don’t want to know everything… Here are few things I tried…

I visited way too many physiotherapists, sport doctors, chiropractor…I think my insurance company soon will be coming to my house knocking on the door with a Huuuuge Bill.
I even went to an osteopath…Yep I found him on google :) I might need to call him "wonderDoctor" because after my last visit and after he clicked my back and my leg “Klik Klak” things started to get better.
Was it really thanks to him? Well I am sure he added some values to my recovery.

I also tried every single shoe possible, from Nike to Asics, to Saucony…I went and got my feet analyzed by the Hardloopwinkel, Run2Day, Runner’s World and even by a shoes specialist at Medicort center. I always bought running shoes because they look pretty and not because they are good for me and for my feet! For an amateur runner I didn’t know that shoes can be so important!! Well I didn’t know that I need to get a bigger running shoes size until after my last marathon where I ended up with 10 blue toenails. Thanks to whoever gave me the advice to get a bigger shoe size!! I really wish I took a picture and I am not kidding I lost 10 toenails !!  Good thing about the injury that I have new toenails without any BLUE ready for the summer!! Yippie!! So after some experimentation I found out what makes my feet “ Happy Feet”, GoodBye blue nails!

I am a person who believe if you get sick and take medicine you get better in one week and if you get sick and you don’t take medicine you get better after 7 days! So basically medicines, pills and god knows what don’t enter my body! Mr google convinced me otherwise!! For my knee I am willing to go the whole 9 yards. Voila here is a picture of what I have been taking.

My Vitamins

You need to google if you don’t know what these vitamins are for! What also convinced me is because I had that thought that if the door is making noise when you open it and close it, you add oil to the joints of the door and the sound is gone! So what if I add fish oil to my body will the joints get healed? SMART eh!! It sounds funny but I am experimenting and it looks like it is working!!

ITB Strap 
Well those are the things that everyone around you even doctors and physiotherapists tell you that they don't work but being "Nesrine" this doesn't hit my brain until I try it. Sure enough I got one ITB Strap I tried it few times and mentally I thought It was really fixing the issue but this is really what we call it Illusion. Honestly it doesn't help so don't waste your money unless you want to look cool like me ;)
ITB Strap

Core / Stability and Strengthening.
Now we are down to the hardcore stuff.
Foam Rolling became my best friend, I am rolling my whole leg from hip till toes every day and every night!! if you are thinking about me right now there is a big chance I might be rolling :)
My Foam Roller and Me

I also did Hip strengthening
Hip Abductor

 Core and stability
 Planks, Glute bridge, ball stability....
Glute Bridge

At the gym I did squat on the machine also a squat on each leg. It is a simple balance while keeping a nice posture and focusing on keeping both hips stable and even, also tuck your belly to the inside, focusing on the middle section of your body.

Squat on one leg
Squat using the machine


Squat and place a ball or block between the knees and squeeze it!




Every week I went  aqua Jogging but aqua jogging still did pain to my knee along with other cardio exercises like biking and cross trainer. Since December I didn't get to do much cardio and get that good feeling of a workout!

Resting, Stretching and Icing

Knowing me, resting does not fit in my dictionary! But an injury like in my case teaches you that you got injured not because you were sleeping all day, you got injured because you Over did it!  Your poor body needs a break!! Time to SLOW down! Really, slowing down for me is a burn out! But hey I had to learn to relax, I read a book that I recommend to everyone "Once a runner" by John Parker. 

Stretching is very important! I did lots of stretching especially the ITB stretch....I should join the ballet dancers because I became way too flexible. Eventhough I always thought that I am a natural flexible :) well now even more!
Icing in my lovely garden!
In my whole running experience I never stretched, it is time to learn that stretching is important!! Important to keep the muscle lean and tall!

Also lots of icing, Ice baby ice! When I couldn't walk the stairs Ice saved my life. Icing decreases swelling which improves circulation which brings blood, and with it, nutrients, to the tendon. When I feel pain I ice for 20 min, few times a day even at work!!  

Dry needling, electrical stimulation and cortisone injection
Dry Needling involves multiple advances of a filament needle into the muscles in the region of a " Trigger Point". The aim of Dry Needling is to achieve a local twitch response to release muscle tension and pain. I had like 8 sessions on a weekly basis and I can tell that I did feel a change, my hamstrings and legs muscle were definitely too tight and became looser.

At least 15 sessions of electrical

Electrical stimulation has been used to decrease both acute and chronic pain, it is thought to block the transmission of pain signals along nerves. Electrical stimulation is also thought to provoke the release of endorphins --the body's natural painkillers. In my experience I didn't feel it eased on my pain but I still did it weekly and sometimes 2 times a week. 

Cortisone Injection is the worst thing I have ever done. Again everyone advised me not to do it because it can damage the ligaments and many other sides effect. I don't feel my ligament is damaged but it messed up my hormones, I was already messed up, I really didn't need that in my body! But once again it is all about experience, "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger"!

I never knew how complex is the human mind. You can never achieve anything in life without having the right attitude and the right positive thoughts. The Mind can push you up and can push you down. I never knew how to control my mind when something bad or sad I let my thoughts guide me but actually you can win over your mind by bringing positive thoughts ! You can…with practice… After lots of practice I learned to have a "Power of Mind" and manipulate my thoughts to think positive! "JEUH"

As a woman I believe it's true
 It'is true no?
When you become negative and stop believing in yourself it can lead to many consequences! The body also captures those negative signals and tightens the body muscles …Yoga can be very beneficial, I know it is not my thing but I still have to try it…who knows if you don’t try? 

This Injury taught me a lot! It was a great life lesson experience. After a long journey of experimenting I started to see some good results, I am managing to run without pain couple times a week.  Everything that I experienced and was good for me I am still doing it and will keep doing it because I don' t wish to have more injuries in my life. A nice life balance is important. After my pain Free run today It made me realize again how much I LOVE running  and how much it brings happiness to my life! I feel I have wings and I am flying high above!!

 I love this time of the year, everything looks pretty outside! The ducks, the birds and all the animals are happy !! 
It reminds me of the Dutch kids song
"Alle eendjes zwemmen in het water"
So cuuute!!

Next week I will be on vacation and I can't wait because I will be running on the beach in a warm weather every day!! So I hope and pray that my knee stays in the Recovery mode!!

Happy SPRING and SUMMER everyone!!


  1. This is great news! I just knew you would return, and believe me, you'll be stronger then ever. The work you have put in to recover, it's remarkable! Keep yourself painfree and slowly (again: slowly!) extent your training. I wish you and your familiy a great vacation and once again congratulations! The #FastLady is back! Watch out!!

    See you soon!
    big hugh

  2. What a great post! I understand how annoying, painful, and stupid IT Band Syndrome is and also how depressing it can be. I had breakdown moments where I started crying because I couldn't run but I tried to stay motivated. Although I'm still not 100%, I can see some improvement and its encouraging. I like all your tips and exercises (seems like we were doing similar things :) and I'm SO glad you are feeling better! We runners need to be running!

  3. Hi Nes!! I have the same complains as you.Not too serious, but I am not pushing that hard, if I feel the pain I stop the run.. Where did you bought your foam roller? I have looked everywhere but cant seem to find one...:(

    Daniel (Accenture)