About three months ago, I hurled myself back into riding after a few months layoff (elbow fracture). My left ilio-tibial band burst into flames and I had to stop riding for a while.
I saw the orthopod who advised a side-stretch, which I've been doing several times a day. I've also found a weird kind of stretch which is meant to be for runners and involves standing on a step, lowering one hip and then flexing it back and forth. I'm doing this, too (although I don't know if I've got it correctly).
I've gradually increased my biking distance and am at 60 miles for my long ride at the weekend and I still get a 'tight' left knee.
Anyone else who's had this problem? Any other stretches I could do?
Thanks for the help!
One way I've found to work on a tight ITB is to get deep tissue massage in the area. Since we all don't have the resources for daily or weekly massages, there are self massage products that help tremendously.
Check out the Web site: http://www.tpmassageball.com/
They have info on getting rid of ITB problems with their self massage products.
Yoga is great all around. I had back surgery and I wouldn't be on my bike today without a lot of yoga the past year. I just finished the Tahoe century with barely any back pain.
As for your ITB problem, have you tried a foam roller? A lot of decent gyms have them and you can find exercises online for how to use them. Hurts like the dickens when you do it, but the effect is undeniably positive.
If your ITB issue is at the knee, it may be a problem with your rotation that starts with your foot. I'd suggest that you have a very good bike setup person look at your rotation and see if you need shims on the cleat below that knee. ITB pain at the hip is one thing, at the knee is typically caused by a need for orthotics or shims...
I had severe ITB problems as well and was referred to a sports medicine doc who gave me three exercises to do.
the first is like the side plank that works your core, accept you raise your top leg as well to increase the stretch/work. Hold for up to a minute, do each side 3x.
the second requires an elastic exercise band. lay on your side and put the exercise band around your ankles, then raise your top leg and lower it, 2 sets of 10.
the third lay on your back with your knees bent. Wrap the exercise band around your knees and then lift your hips and pelvis. Extend your leg out one at a time and hold it stretched in front of you with both knees parallel for 5 seconds. 2 sets of 10.
i did these three exercises twice a day, every other day for a week and already experienced less pain.
Go see a physical therapist, preferably one who is knowledgable about biking. This is a common problem and easily treated. Don't let it drag on! Also, bike positioning is critical. Your seat placement and/or height may need adjusted. Keep your eyes peeled for your your active.com newsletter, there will be an upcoming article on this very topic.
I have had terrible ITB problems in the past from cycling. I found a physical therapist who works wonders on me. The secret to a good massage of the ITB is finding someone who understands that it is different from muscle and who knows methods to really loosen it up. It really has to hurt! My PT uses a plunger to pull my ITB up and really works it with the bony side of her forearm. I also stetch it often on long rides.
I once had this problem after running two marathon's, so I started stretching my legs only but it would still flare up from time to time. Until I started stretching my whole body nothing worked for me, now I do yoga a few times a week and I haven't had a problem in 8 years. I have been bike racing for the last 7 years and adding more training each year without another problem. I will notice a little tightness in my left ITB and leg if I lay off the yoga for about a month, so I know that the yoga is doing its job.
Best of luck
I had IT problems from running. The most consistent advice I have gotten is as follows: stretch all the time, during work, watching TV, after run/ride. Buy a tennis ball, lay on your side, and roll the ball from knee to mid-thigh. Also, get deep tissue massage, it helps! In the mean time, take ibuprofen before your ride (not on an empty stomach) it helps with inflammation. Lastly, what finally got rid of all my pain was a cortisone shot. The shot itself did not hurt, the 3-4 days afterwards did...totally worth it. Good luck!
Stretch and massage type movements can help with IT band problems. Possibly try an ice massage if it is already inflamed.
To prevent recurrence stretcthing, as others have noted is an important step, but also strengthening the gluteus medius can help. Strength in the gluteus medius can reduce strain that is often placed on the IT band by weakness in this muscle. Lying on your side and abduction of the leg (moving the leg away from you) is a good start. Single leg stance (balancing on one leg) is also a good exercise that can be performed. When this can be performed on flat ground (no shoes) with ease, try it with your eyes closed. When both of these are performed with ease see a physical therapist, chiropractor, athletic trainer, etc. for more advanced balance work.
Regular, patient stretching is critical both before, after and in-between activities. I highly recommend seeing a Massage Therapist with Neuromuscular and Myofascial massage training. Attention should be given to releasing the Tensor Fascia Lata muscle. It is a small muscle above your greater trochanter that is connected to the Ilio-tibial Band. Getting the IT band to relax while that muscle is in contraction with active Trigger Points can be futile. Adhesions can form between the ITB and the Vastus Lateralis muscle below as well, which is where the Myofascial massage background comes in nicely. This type of work can be very intense but any time you are dealing with the release of an accumulation of toxins in the body you are going to feel some discomfort. Drink plenty of water, take detox baths (epsom salt and baking soda) and Stretch, Stretch, Stretch!
Definitely go to a PT who has a clue, I was sent to one who had no idea what a tri bike even looked like let alone how to treat ITBS. they had one richety bike there that hardly worked. They had me doing stuff for my lower back ankles and core, didn't even touch my knee once in 3 months. Paid too much for absolutely no resluts, be very carefull when selecting your PT. I am still stretching, but not enough probably, taking NSAID(naproxen), finally starting to feel a little better now since last August when this occurred, probably from going too fast out of the water and on to the bike, water was chilly so I had a tight joint already then hammerd the bike only to end up with that burning feeling after mile marker 40, barely made it through the remaining 16, funny thing was that the half marathon immediatley following had no effect on my knee. Well thats my story along with my 0.02.
I healed my ITB by paying attention to my knees while I ride, and shifting to a faster cadence on easier gears when the knee takes on a little too much stress.
With a little practice, you can learn to shift before the knee takes on more stress, which helps even more.
Talk to someone who does yoga. "Pigeon position" will work this and there are several other stretches to try. I have had doctors tell me to take Aleve or it's generic daily along with iceing after exercise and stretching.