Knee Pain? Check your IT Band!

I’ve been dealing with knee pain issues since the Copper Creek Triathlon.  At the beginning of the run, I got that feeling in my left knee where it needed to pop.  I paused briefly, cupped my hand over my knee and tried a few times to bend it and stretch.  No luck so I just kept going and hoped for the best.

Later that night and even more the next day, my knee was screaming.  I started phase 1 of my recovery: a bath in Weekend Warrior and Epsom Salts, cooling the area (plus the surrounding muscles) with Biofreeze and pop Ibuprofin to address the inflammation.  I also saw Braxton, my teammate and a chiropractor to confirm that my pain was most likely due to muscle tightness, not an issue with the knee itself.

As I’d hoped (because I knew how to fix it!), Braxton suspected inflammation of the Iliotibial (IT) Band was the main culprit.  I decided to rest by doing lighter workouts, a swim and a more cautious run, plus some basement biking until the pain cleared up.  I continued my Ibuprofin, ice, and bath regimen. As the inflammation settled, I decided it was time for phase 2: Deep tissue massage.  Therapists who are trained in modalities like sports massage, myofascial release, deep tissue and Lomi Lomi are all good choices.  I received an incredibly deep Lomi Lomi style massage on Monday that was heavily focused on working the entire length of the IT Band, plus my hamstrings and quads.  The results were incredible.  Tuesday I was able to do a 40 minute run without pain.  Wednesday I did 45 minutes of hill bike training with no pain and Thursday I did a run with added sprints to vary my routine.

Even though the pain was gone, I decided to do what I encourage my own massage clients to do: Continue with treatment a bit longer to ensure that the area is truly better.  I received a nice deep tissue massage on Thursday that also addressed hip imbalances and again focused on the muscles of my upper leg and IT Band with long, focused strokes.

My knees feel 100% and I had the privilege of experiencing the process of onset of pain through successful relief of pain using conservative measures.  Not only will this (hopefully!) make me a better athlete, it will certainly make me a better massage therapist!

Here is an excellent article on knee pain and the IT Band. If this is an issue you’re having, I strongly encourage you to read the article and look up a massage therapist with experience in the types of treatments mentioned in this post.

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One comment

  1. I remember last summer I had that same pain and you also recommended for me to get that foam roller. Hurt like heck but helped.

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