How I beat ITBS (ITBFS)

What is ITBS or ITBFS? It stands for Iliotibial Band Syndrome or also known as Iliotibial Band Friction Syndrome.

ITBS is an overuse injury of tissues of the outer thigh and knee. The iliotibial band runs along the lateral or outside aspect of the thigh and is an important structure that stabilizes the outside of the knee as it flexes and extends. Inflammation of the IT band can occur as it crosses back and forth across the bony prominence of the femoral epicondyle as the knee flexes and extends causing pain on the outside part of the knee especially during running when the heel strikes the ground.

As I had mentioned before on my ITBFS or ITBS. What is Iliotibial Band Syndrome? I have been suffering from this for a while already. In fact, since my mid 20s I started experiencing pain on my knees, although it wasn’t until my 30s that I found out it was ITBS.

Many online articles have been written about what could be the cause, and different treatments. While in my opinion, the article I make reference too on my other post, has been one of the most complete in my personal opinion, I still didn’t find a way to get rid of my problem. After trying as many methods I could, I ended up giving up and not trying anymore.

My directed my focus towards working my legs from every possible angle, using heavy weights, trying to make them stronger and bigger. I mean, if I couldn’t run anymore, at least I wanted to have bigger lower extremities. What I didn’t know was, that by doing this I was already fighting ITBS and apparently making it go away.

Not until a couple of weeks ago, I decided to run again for warm up before my workout. Usually, with the knee straps I could get to two minutes of running before I started to get knee pain (without the straps it would be less than 2 minutes), but I noticed that somehow I ran 4 minutes and I didn’t feel any discomfort. This was without wearing the knee straps. I was surprised, but I didn’t want to push it and get to the point my knees would hurt. This stayed in my head, wondering what had happened that I didn’t get any pain. A few days after, I decided to try running 6 minutes, if possible, and see what the outcome would be. Once again, I felt no discomfort or pain at all. The excitement started to really wonder how far I could run before I would feel any pain, but my analytical mind kept me from doing something crazy and push my knees too far.

More recently I ran for 10 minutes and once again, my knees were perfectly ok with it. What is happening?, I thought. I haven’t really don’t any of the suggested therapy (stretching, foam roller, massages) but it seems my ITBS has somehow disappeared? Well, tonight I was committed to try not 15, but 20 minutes of running nonstop, which ended up being 2 miles even, and to my surprise, my kneed were absolutely fine.

I can’t tell you how excited and happy this makes me, knowing there was absolutely no discomfort during the time I was running for such a long time, at least for me. I began to realize, maybe the root of my problem was in fact weak hip abductors and glutes muscles, which I have constantly worked out since I decided to focus on my legs more than I did before. While I had done hip abductor exercises before, when trying different methods to treat the ITBS, it seems it wasn’t long enough to see any results. Now I’m basically doing 4 to 5 sets of 12 reps each using all the weight available on the machine, plus all the squats and other exercises I am doing, has been the solution to rid myself from this extremely frustrating condition.

While many treatments suggest to not stop running during the time ITBS is being treated, I eliminated running completely from my list, and it seems not running at all didn’t make a difference for me to get better. I will keep increasing the time and distance as I have an upcoming Sprint Spartan race. If it ITBS is officially gone completely, I finally see myself registering to run the Beast Spartan race in a near future.

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