I am a new runner training for a 10k. After running a 5k on Sunday I started having persistent knee pain. It seems to be ITBS. I am itchy to start training again as my 10k is in 3 weeks! Questions: how long should I rest my knee (it's been 3 full days)? Should pain be completely gone before I start running again? Are there any treatment techniques you can recommend? Any stretches? Is there any way to prevent this in the future? Any info or experience is helpful. Thx
I'm not sure how long you should rest it. But I've been alternating yoga with my running and have really found that it helps keep me good and streched. And it's really relaxing too. There are a lot of yoga videos on YouTube if you don't want to go to a class.
There are many possible reasons for knee pain, and ITBS is just one of them. It is a popular explanation for knee pain in running circles, because many runners encounter ITBS, or a pain syndrome like it, when picking up the miles and some wear and tear. If you are a new runner, ITBS is still a possibility, but less likely in a runner who is just moving from 5ks up to 10k. This gives more weight to other possible explanations, like an actual knee problem or overtraining syndrome that looks like ITBS, of which there can be several.
While yoga and other stretching protocols can be useful for improving flexibility, it isn't the wisest way to recover from an injury, if you are indeed injured. The IT Band and the muscles that use it can all develop tightness and knots that don't always like being stretched. You may be better off foam-rolling your outer thigh from knee to hip to see if that relaxes the tissue. The IT Band itself cannot be stretched without a meat hook. You can get some therapeutic action going on the quads, hip, and butt muscles though, and the tension down towards the knee should ease up, if that's the real problem.
If I were you, I would play it safe and rest more than 3 days. If it turns out that you still hurt well into your three-week waiting period, why would you want to hold yourself to that schedule and run a potentially painful race, with the possibility of further injuring yourself? When you train for a target race and go down to injury shortly before race time, it is your cue to either skip the race or run it easy. Toughing it out through races may seem attractive at first, but limping later can set you back way more than if you had skipped the race to cheer others on.
You are better off easing up on yourself now, early in your running career, knowing that you can always bounce back later. You have many years of happy running ahead, if you play this right. If you cut back, get some rest, and this still bothers you weeks later, it's time to discuss strategies for healing. Keep us posted, and good luck with your recovery.