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IT Band exercises...

Postby Steve Climber » Mon May 20, 2013 12:39 pm

Not sure if this is correct spot for this but it was best I could figure.

I have been dealing with IT Band issues for a while now and am finally getting off my a$$ to try and get it healed up a bit. I am buying a foam roller tonight and have been doing some research on the YouTubes for exercises. Anyone here had good experience with one (or more) exercise(s) in particular? Also, any behaviors that helped? I know not hiking or cycling is among the top on the list, which is going to make my summer incredibly dull. I have had good luck rockclimbing with no pain (not that that means I'm not aggravating it still) and would like to stay as active as possible to keep in shape for big trip at end of summer. I am planning on trying the Pfiffner Traverse late Aug/early Sept range and am wondering if that is a feasible amount of time to heal this up. The last thing I need is to be in the middle of IPW and have this thing go bad on class 4 scramble. Catch 22 of needing to stay active to keep in shape, but sedintary enough to heal... :-k

edit: Bill, maybe move to Climbing Prep/Conditioning?
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Re: IT Band exercises...

Postby randalmartin » Mon May 20, 2013 1:04 pm

I had bad IT band issues 4 years ago. The best thing was simply getting my legs stronger. Lunges, Squats and steeper hikes. I found the more I hiked that the problem eventually dissipated. I did where a strap around my leg just above the knee that was supposed to help support the IT band and keep it from rubbing as much but not sure how much that really helped.

I realize my feedback is counter to what you see online. However, I think what I see a lot of online about IT band issues is from overuse by runners. I knew that was not my issue because 4 years ago I frankly wasn't in that great of shape and absolutely wasn't really overusing the way an athlete overuses something. I was a weekend only hiker. So in my case, it was overuse since my legs were not used to get used much at all. I emphasize above that leg strength was important. So not treadmills or eliptical machines but more resistance based to truly build up all muscles around the knee/upper leg.

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Re: IT Band exercises...

Postby roguejackalope » Mon May 20, 2013 1:19 pm

I know a few people, myself included, who were able to help of completely fix IT issues by seeing a sports massage therapist. In my case, it was an issue that I had battled for 3-4 years, trying many different things. One deep tissue massage was enough to take out tightness in a my legs and a hip, realign my hips, and completely eliminate the tension in my IT band. I still foam roll, and very infrequently see this massage therapist (for other issues), and haven't had a reoccurence. I also have a few friends who had success fighting IT issues with massage therapy, usually after only a few sessions.

It's still only anecdotal evidence, but I swear by it and I think it is worth a try.
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Re: IT Band exercises...

Postby johnF » Mon May 20, 2013 3:46 pm

I've had ITB issues that have mostly gone away, and I'd agree with randalmartin about leg-strengthening exercises, but I'd add that hip strengthening really helped me. Lie on your side with both legs straight and lift the upper leg as far as you can, repeat about 20 times, then flip over and do the other leg. Machines at the gym are nice too, if you have access to that.

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Re: IT Band exercises...

Postby mbourget » Mon May 20, 2013 5:13 pm

I had ITB issues playing football in college and a lot of it was attributed to the fact that my quads were much much much stronger than my hamstrings which, in medical talk, threw everything out of balance. I agree with all of the above advice, and I add to make sure you don't lift your way to a similar imbalance.

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Re: IT Band exercises...

Postby bob863 » Mon May 20, 2013 6:50 pm


Re: IT Band exercises...

Postby Steve Climber » Mon May 20, 2013 8:42 pm

Thanks everyone for the replies. I worked the first round with the foam roller and it hurts a lot! Everything I've read is it hurts like hell the first few days, then starts getting better day by day. I will also start working legs and hips per the suggestions :mrgreen:

Cheers!
Sam
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Re: IT Band exercises...

Postby Hungry Jack » Tue May 21, 2013 8:30 am

There are lots of possible treatments, but the foam roll is the best place to start. Try to do it 3x per day, rolling each side about 10x. Be sure to change the angle so you work more toward the hamstrings and then more toward the top of the quadriceps.

A lot of ITB and patella femoral issues are from too many "straight line" exercises and not enough rotational work that involves the stabilizing muscles for the femur in the hips and butt. Hiking is actually an excellent way to engage these muscles on sustained workouts, especially with moderate climbing. The twisting, balancing, turning, etc are great ways to build these muscles.

If hiking is not regularly available, basketball, soccer, ultimate frisbee, etc work fine. Or even jazz dance or the tango.

Or try some of this stuff:
http://www.princeton.edu/uhs/pdfs/PelStabHip-StrenPro.pdf

I learned these exercises in rehab/PT. I used to do a LOT of lifting with heavy leg presses, lunges, hack squats, etc. At about 35, I suddenly had debilitating patella-femoral pain. Stopping the lifting routine addressed that. I now cycle regularly and have little issues with the ITB and knee pain. But the best thing for my knee is a week of hiking in CO. My knees feel great after my annual summer trips.
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Re: IT Band exercises...

Postby Steve Climber » Tue May 21, 2013 8:58 am

Hungry Jack wrote:There are lots of possible treatments, but the foam roll is the best place to start. Try to do it 3x per day, rolling each side about 10x. Be sure to change the angle so you work more toward the hamstrings and then more toward the top of the quadriceps.

A lot of ITB and patella femoral issues are from too many "straight line" exercises and not enough rotational work that involves the stabilizing muscles for the femur in the hips and butt. Hiking is actually an excellent way to engage these muscles on sustained workouts, especially with moderate climbing. The twisting, balancing, turning, etc are great ways to build these muscles.

If hiking is not regularly available, basketball, soccer, ultimate frisbee, etc work fine. Or even jazz dance or the tango.

Or try some of this stuff:
http://www.princeton.edu/uhs/pdfs/PelStabHip-StrenPro.pdf

I learned these exercises in rehab/PT. I used to do a LOT of lifting with heavy leg presses, lunges, hack squats, etc. At about 35, I suddenly had debilitating patella-femoral pain. Stopping the lifting routine addressed that. I now cycle regularly and have little issues with the ITB and knee pain. But the best thing for my knee is a week of hiking in CO. My knees feel great after my annual summer trips.


Thanks. I am definitely going to stick with the rollers (regardless of how sore I am today) and will try some of the other exercises noted. The only reason I hesitate to use cycling as an exercise is the FIRST time I noticed this pain (June/2012) I was cycling over Vail Pass from Beaver Creek to Copper...started as a slight twinge that seemed to worsen every stroke and by the time I got done back to Beaver Creek I could barely walk. I would have stopped if I felt it was a choice, but I was out solo and really nasty weather was rolling in. It came up again ONCE during a sidehill traverse while bailing off lower Quandary west ridge back to the lake. Did a couple shots up other 14ers and had no issues. Kelso Ridge this March REALLY aggravated it again. Since then, anytime I have attempted a climb with heavier load (winter gear, snowboard, etc...) it's given up on me after a while (3-5 miles). I haven't managed to get above 13K in my last 4-5 attempts (couple of calendar winter attempts Longs, one spring attempt on Angel of Shavano). I've climbed in gym, Flatirons, Boulder Canyon with no great pain yet, which gives me hope I can remain climbing during PT and recovery even if my hiking is limited a bit. The inconsistency is the biggest PITA about it. My main concern is training for Pfiffner Traverse at end of summer. My partner has already purchased flight out here for it and I'm worried about not being able to go, but as it stands, there is no way I'm taking a bag with a week's load across class 4 ridges in IPW.
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Re: IT Band exercises...

Postby Hungry Jack » Tue May 21, 2013 10:03 am

I am assuming the pain is on the outer side of the knee cap, probably under the knee cap, or perhaps on the side of the knee where the LCL attaches. Sounds like you have some significant irritation in there.

You should see an orthopede to get a firm diagnosis and a prescription for PT. Ice and anti-inflammatories should help, but you need to learn how to work to manage this overuse condition. It won't really go away, but you can limit the amount of damage done to the articulating surface of the kneecap with proper training and treatment.

I too remember having a very sore knee on Kelso Ridge as I was in the midst of a flare-up. Maybe there is something about Kelso...
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Re: IT Band exercises...

Postby Steve Climber » Tue May 21, 2013 10:13 am

Hungry Jack wrote:I am assuming the pain is on the outer side of the knee cap, probably under the knee cap, or perhaps on the side of the knee where the LCL attaches. Sounds like you have some significant irritation in there.

You should see an orthopede to get a firm diagnosis and a prescription for PT. Ice and anti-inflammatories should help, but you need to learn how to work to manage this overuse condition. It won't really go away, but you can limit the amount of damage done to the articulating surface of the kneecap with proper training and treatment.

I too remember having a very sore knee on Kelso Ridge as I was in the midst of a flare-up. Maybe there is something about Kelso...


If I had to explain it, it's the lower outside "quadrant" of my left knee cap. On the descent off Torreys and the tree slog back off Shavano, it was VERY painful for an extended period and started radiating down the outside of my shin (to about mid shin). I noticed when I isolated it on Shavano during snowboard back down, it was all good and if I keep my leg straight I can land on left foot with little pain, but if I step down on bent leg or sidehill with left side on the uphill...lookout!
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Re: IT Band exercises...

Postby mountainlover153 » Tue May 21, 2013 11:49 am

A couple thoughts, as I've gone through pretty much exactly the same thing (including cycling pain).

-USE the foam roller. I have one by TEVA and it is fantastic, it's made things work so much better so quickly its almost unreal.
-CHECK your feet. It turns out I have flat feet. I never knew this. But as a result, my lower legs bowed inwards and a bunch of uncomfortable stuff (knee pain, ligament injuries, muscle pulls...you name it) happened as a result. Of note, my cycling pain has started to decrease with the addition of new orthotics. A PT or orthopedic specialist can correctly diagnose anatomical abnormalities in your legs that may be the root cause of your issue. Additionally, leg length discrepancies can cause some of the concerns you're mentioning.
-GET a knee brace. Cheap, easily available and effective. You can find one that suits the level of support you want, and this will further help take the load off your knee as it heals and promote proper flexion.
-Consider getting an electric heating pad. In many PT settings, the application of wet and/or dry heat to injured regions, along with stretching and strengthening routines, help to improve range of motion and recovery faster than would occur on their own.

Because of the issues you're experiencing, I *would* strongly advise you do actually try and see an orthopedic specialist. From personal experience, ignoring pain in your body and pushing through it can eventually make the issue chronic if left unchecked.

-CD
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