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Question
Posted by: Joey | 2005/12/02

ITB

Hi Doc,

First let me start by thanking you for your ever invaluable advice.
How long does an ITB injury take? I have been out with it for more than 2 months now. I had gone for physio about 8 sessions and doing the stretching exercises they recommend but I still have the pain when running and walking (however when I do spinning I do not feel the pain, why is it?).It feels like I could walk with my knees straightened out.At one stage I couldn't feel the pain but when I started running, after 2 kays the pain was there. Please help,I am at the desperate stage as I have missed so many races and had already started preparing for qualifying races for next year's ultras but am now unable to continue.

Regards,
Joey

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageFitnessDoc

Hi Joey

ITB is notoriously difficult, and it can be very long lasting. You have already had physio, which is good, and perhaps what you need to do now is consider what the cause of the problem is, rather than just treating it. For example, the reason you have been given stretching exercises is because one possible cause of ITB pain is tightness of the band, which then causes it to rub against the knee when walking and running. Stretching loosens it. However, this has not worked for you and so either the stretches must be changed or there is something else that needs to be done. The other common cause of ITB pain is weakness in certain muscle groups, most notably the gluteus muscles. You have to look at strengthening these, if this has not been shown to you already. I would suggest you find these exercise from a physio and then begin doing them regularly. finally, if you are absolutely despearate, consider the surgical route. Don't cringe in fear, the surgery for ITB is really brief and pretty painless. It's a matter of cutting the band to release some of the tightness, and requires some rest afterwards, but it is pretty effective in treating the condition. In the meantime you can continue to cycle, as this doesn't cause pain (the reason, by the way, is because the ITB only moves over the knee when the leg is in a certain position and this position is not reached in cycling, or when walking with straight legs), but consider the strength option and the surgery as a last resport.

Good luck

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