Running with Pain – ITBS

When I started running, I started in minimalist shoes.  Saucony Kinvara 2s to be exact.  Loved them.  Still love them.  However, I failed to ease into them and my iliotibibial band (ITB) suffered for it.  What’s that, you say?  To put it non-medically, it is the band on the outside of your leg, from the side of your hip to the outside of your knee.  Apparently it’s common in runners, especially if you run downhill a lot or if one of your legs is shorter than the other (it’s more common than you think!).

The infamous IT band,

The infamous IT band,


My pain can be described as a sharp pain on the OUTSIDE of my knee, kind of where the top of my lower leg bone is.  When I played flag football, I tore my ITB and I have been susceptible to pain there ever since.

Here’s what I have done to prevent the pain or to relieve the pain when it comes:

  • If I’m running longer than 3 miles, I get my distance shoes on.  These have the extra padding and support for my lower legs and can handle the shock of running longer distances.
  • During the run, I make sure that I strike mid-foot.  Keep the heel strikes at a minimum because that’s when I really feel the tension on my ITB.
  • After I run, I make sure to fit in my favorite yoga stretch – relaxed pigeon pose, and open my hips and stretch the band.  Also I get some protein in my body from chocolate milk or Carnation Breakfast.
  • If I hurt myself during the run, most of the time I try to push through it but if I will force myself myself to walk if I feel it increase in pain or area.  I will RICE it up when I get home.  This means I Rest, Ice, Compress, and Elevate my leg.  When I feel up to it, I get my foam roller and roll it out.

I hope this helps any of you that suffer from this pain.  Remember that I’m not a doctor, but write from MY experiences.  Happy and healthy running!  🙂

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