Help/Advice with ITBS

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Hi all,

I know I'm not the first and definitely won't be the last to have problems with ITBS.  after reading many of the older posts regarding this syndrome I just wanted some advice from people that have had and overcome this problem.

I know I should be following *RICE*, but how much rest should I be doing? do I not run at all and try and get my fittness through cross training?  this is going to be my first time running a marathon and I have a charity place.  before I start my fund raising drive I wanted to know ifs its possible to complete the marathon with this injury?  I don't want to ask people to sponser me only for me not to be able to start or complete.

I've heard/seen lots of stretching excercises but does anyone know what works the best.  my ITBS is around the knee area and in both knees.  though I did manage a 9Km job on sunday, iced it etc.  walking down the stairs was a killer this morning and still a little sore.  with the big day getting closer I panicing that I won't have time to rest up and do enough training.

should I get regular sports massages for this?  they can be relativily expensive and can't afford to shell out hundreds of pounds if it isn't going to really help me.

Any help/advice or insight is greatly needed.



Posted 04.02.13, 9:17pm


Is 9km your longest run to date?

Can you describe the pain a bit more - not entirely sure its ITB from what you say.

Running a Marathon is an amazing experience and I firmly believe anyone can do it. But if you are up to 5 1/2 miles with 8/9 weeks of training left and already have significant knee pain then this year may not be the year for you. May be better to speak to charity about deferring your place till next year and focusing on building a good solid core and basic running distances before coming back stronger next year.

If it is ITB then massages will almost certainly help. I have a massage every 3 weeks or so and convinced they really help.


Posted 04.02.13, 9:24pm

Hi Keith,

thanks for your response. 

I did 15km a few weeks ago, but it was during that run when the pain really hit home and had to walk the last few kms as I couldn't jog anymore.  on sunday there was a reasonable amount of pain, I could have probably struggled on for a few more miles, but didn't want to make the problem worse.  I may have made the old mistake of upping my milage too quickly.

the pain I get is centered around the outer part of the knee area. the ligament where the thigh and knee joins is where most of the pain resides.  when walking down stairs, I get a sharp sort of stabbing pain.  what do you think?  if it is ITB, will massages solve my issue? I've seen varying costs for massages, what would i normally expect to pay? do you get what you pay for?(if you know what I mean)

I may try and go and see my GP to see if they can diagnose it for definite?

Posted 04.02.13, 9:40pm


Forget the GP - unless you are very lucky and they happen to be a runner - all you will get is rest for 2-4 weeks (depending on GP) and marathon running isnt good for you Laughing

I think it is worth going to  a sports injury specialist or sports physio and getting checked out. Most of them will start from the idea that their aim is to keep you running if they can. If it is ITB then massage will cerainly help ( it will hurt but it will  help). It wont sokve issue and you are likely to need to do stretches etc as well also using a foam roller will probably help after you get massage to keep it under control.

In terms of costs - I pay £25 for 30 minutes. No idea if thats good bad or indifferent - but to be honest dont care she great! Cant recommend it enough




Posted 04.02.13, 9:48pm


I'm recovering/just recovered from a nasty case of ITBS which almost had me in tears with the pain.  My advice would be to go see a physio to check for any underlying causes of it.  If you are in the South/West London, I can recommend the one I saw.

However stretching my IT band between 3-5 times a day for 60 secs a time I think has fixed the problem for me.  Although I think Keith's advice about the foam roller is also a good idea.  This is the stretch I've been mostly doing:

"The simplest stretch is to lie on your back, bring your left knee up to your shoulder, and push your knee over to the right shoulder with the palm of your left hand. Hold for 20 seconds, and repeat five times. Then do your right knee. Do this exercise at least three times a day in addition to making it part of your preworkout routine (yes, you  can continue to exercise), and you’ll probably see results in about a week. When the condition clears up, just use the stretch whenever you can; more is better!"

The website the quote is from is

I initially suffered from my ITBS in the first week of Jan and was able to do a 14m run pain free yesterday.

Good luck and I hope you make a good recovery!

Posted 04.02.13, 10:11pm

thanks Keith and Jotolond for the advice.

I'll def go out and get a foam roller and source a physio.  I live in the east london, in the newham borough.

I hope it doesn't come to me pulling out, when do you think would be the latest I could leave it to deciding to pull out if it comes to it? as I guess I'll need to let my charity know.


Posted 04.02.13, 10:25pm


You either need mentally to commit or mentally to pull out. Don't think you can do this half hearted (sorry thats just the sense I am getting). You seem in two minds.

Technically you can pull out up to day before in person or a few days before by post.

As to your Charity - think it makes no difference now as it was last week/beginning of this week (I think) that they had to confirm runners to VLM so they can't now put someone in your place (if they had someone)


Posted 05.02.13, 6:38am

Hi Keith,

This problem has really knocked my confidence about being able to do this maratchon.  I'm not a runner and have gone from only being able to manage 15mins without stopping to doing over 75mins.

I didn't know about the charity no not being able to get someone else into my spot.  I really don't want to let them down as I do know how hard places are to come by.  With that info in mind, I will soilder on and make the start line. even if I have to crawl across that finish line I will complete it.

I've just bought myslef a foam roller and will be looking for a physio.

thanks for all the advice.


Posted 05.02.13, 1:23pm

Hi Duc,

I know how you are feeling, I was feeling exactly same a couple of weeks ago. 

A couple of other things that I remembered this morning you should consider:

1) Check your running shoes.  Are they worn out?  My trainers were at the end of their life, but looked fine.  I think new trainers have helped.

2) Are you doing any strength training? Squats, lunges, core work or even yoga?  This will all help.

3) If you can increase your strength training while you can't run as much, as this will help your overall fitness.

4) When my ITBS was bad, I ran every other day for c.3m.  I've read that you can continue to train with this injury if it doesn't affect your gait.

5) Apparently increasing your level of Vit C helps as well, although I have no idea if this has any effect as I was already taking a multi vit and have a good diet.

I hope you get better soon.  Let us know how you get on.


Posted 05.02.13, 1:39pm


Thats understandable and your confidence will have ups and downs as the weeks progress. But you need to be pretty sure you want to do this to get the training in and also importantly the fundraising. BTW what charity are you running for?

For what its worth I bet 50% of the people (if not more) who line up in Greenwich on the 21st April would describe themselves as not runners, but they go on to complete a marathon, once the preserve of the elites.  It can and is done by thousands of "not runners" every year, so its doable. Its an amazing day out that is hard to beat for occasion, sense of accomplishment and just fun (mostly).

But you need to get yourself fit, so that physio appointment is key. Good luck



Posted 05.02.13, 1:46pm


thanks for those tips, I've been doing some strengthening work but probably not enough.  I've also bought new trainers, in case it is that and they were wrong for my gait.  I've found a physio, hopefully booking something in soon.  so they should be able to advise me if I can keep running like you did but keep the milage down.  planning to be using the cross-trainer to keep my fitness level up.

do you think maybe doing interval running, for my fitness can still be done whilst having ITB?


I'm running for a charity called VICTA - Helping Visualy Impared Children Take Action, they are one of the smaller charites, but do great work.  I saw one of your previous posts regarding the times that people did last VLM, I'm definitely going to be at the tail end of that.  But glad to see I won't be on my own :) I think last year about only 700 people out of the 36K+ runners that made the start line finished, so statistically speaking if I make it to the start im odds on to finish! :)

A big thank you to both of you for your time, advice and help.  I'm in a much better place than I was yesterday, as I think it was just the unknown and the daunting prospect of a 6+ hr run was getting to me.  fingers crossed the physio gives me good news and its not as bad as I think it is.


Posted 05.02.13, 8:46pm

Having only started 'properly running' outside, rather than doing intervals on the treadmill, I consider myself to be a beginner runner [although I did a 10K & half marathon last year], and I've never really tried to do intervals, so unfortunately can't offer much advice about them.

However having said that when my ITBS was bad I used to walk for 10-15 secs and then when I tried to start running again, the pain got worse.

While I've been recovering, I've been focusing on a good even tempo, nothing to fast, rather than push myself too hard and risk hurting myself more.  I also listened to a podcast recently, which suggested that running slower, means that you are at less risk of doing damage to yourself.  But I think the most important thing is to listen to your body and see what feels comfortable or not.

And also when you see your physio, I would recommend bringing both your old & new trainers, as this might give them some idea of what's caused your problem.

Posted 05.02.13, 9:42pm

Like Keith has stated, a foam roller is certainly a good investment. I had what I think was mild ITB 4 years ago. I bought a new pair of trainers and a foam roller and it worked for me. I still use it now and it has been the best thing, running wise, I have bought. I use it on my calves, quads, hamstrings and ITB. Maybe try cold or ice baths too as I always find my recovery after an LSR is noticeably quicker, with less tightness in the muscles too. Its each to their own, but after my long runs, I hop in a cold bath for 10 mins. I keep my tshirt on and have a hot drink - both of these help to keep the core warm. Then its straight into a hot shower and another cup of something hot to warm up. Best of luck and hope you get to the bottom of it and have a great day in April!

Posted 12.02.13, 1:58pm

thanks TallGee,

Will have to try the bath idea for sure.  just had a sports massage today.. .I thought the roller was bad!!! the pain!!!!! she did say my IT band was quite tight, as well as hamstrings and everything else!!

I was told not to run tomorrow, and only a light warmup type job thurs. and to keep stretching.  hopefully the long run planned at the weekend goes well!

Posted 12.02.13, 11:10pm

The 'lateral' thigh stretch is a must.


ITBs or runner's knee sufferers out there. 


You stand side on to a wall around three feet/arms length away  (example left leg adjacent to the wall)

Step your right foot inside your left foot to the rear

Then lean left toward the wall, low and streeeeetch that IT band!!!!

Go on...  streeeeeetch.


A lot of physios out there making a living out of telling you can stretch your tendons. I've heard its all bollocks, funnily enough tendons don't stretch that much. The key is strengthening and keeping loose the muscles around the tendon.

This stretch is the don.



Posted 13.02.13, 6:53pm

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