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Hi there, I am new to this forum hoping someone can help!! I have been running two years now. Mostly on roads and am training for a marathon which is on May 12th next. I was going great with my training and completed two twenty mile runs. However, two weeks ago into a long run, at 11 miles, I developed a pain on the left hand side of my left knee, which travels down the left hand side of the calf and I have to stop running. I went to physio last week and she couldn't see a specific injury, just tightness, over training, lack of stretching!! She told me to rest a few days. I rested, iced, stretched and attempted a run yesterday but EXACTLY the same thing happened, at exactly 11 miles as well. At 9 miles, my left leg felt very tired and tight then the pain kicked in at 11 miles and had to stop. There is a dull ache across the knee now. Anyone have a clue what the hell is going on??? many thanks xxx
Sounds like classic ITBS, to name some of the the symptoms you might be encountering about now, but pain down the calf helps to single out muscular contributors from any actual Band issue. Muscular tightness would not be seen as an injury, even though it can hurt a lot.
When muscles reach a certain level of tightness, stretches don't relax them anymore, and ice may make them tighter. Your continued exercise brings circulation, but the muscles fight back. Your gluteal and TFL muscles apply tension to the IT Band, which can store some tension of its own. There is no leverage to effectively stretch this complex without removing your leg, so you have to find another way to relax it. Continuing to run may make it worse. Here's a brief explanation from Paul...
I'm not sure how long it will take to get this under control, but it is possible before guntime on the 12th. You are nearing your taper anyway, and there is no point in longer runs at this time, so the potential to recover increases in the time you have left.
What has helped me recover under similar circumstances is kinetic tape. I used Kinesio in particular, but KT and others are available even in big-box stores now. Kinetic tape has no intrinsic power; the effectiveness is in how it is applied. Applied properly, it will lift the skin over the injured site and stimulate lymphatic flow with each movement of the involved limb. Enhancing lymphatic flow in this way can speed recovery from injuries, without subjecting the injured site to the damage of repetitive aerobics.
Rest is important, but what happens during rest is even more important. One person recovers quickly during bed rest, while another spends years in bed without relief, and another recovers with no rest at all. What's the difference? It is not the rest per se, but what happened during that span of time. We do not yet know every secret of healing (or we could cure most anything), but we do know that circulation, including lymphatic circulation, helps mobilize components of the immune system around injured tissue. Like having more construction workers and equipment at a work site, things tend to speed up.
Since you have so little time left, there is no realistic amount of time for a useful diagnosis to spare yourself from invisible damage. There is, however, time to rest, and the invisible aid of your immune system embodied in lymphatic flow. I realized immediate benefits when I employed it, within weeks of one of my best marathons ever, in response to crippling ITBS. Give it a shot. At a few bucks a roll, kinetic tape is worth your consideration.