Who Knew I Had a Useless Ass?

Published August 8, 2011 by Jasmine

July was a bittersweet month.  I ran my first half-marathon on July 4, and it was AMAZING! I think I felt the “runner’s high” after I finished! I was on cloud 9.  The rest of the month up to today has pretty much been downhill. I have only been able to run a handful of times, and all but two or three of those runs has ended with me in PAIN, barely able to even walk. The pain has been in my left hip and knee, and the consensus was it was an IT band injury. My first indication of this pain was actually back in May in which I was Ready to Cry. Somehow I made it through that half-marathon without any pain, during or after. I am going to consider that a miracle. Had I gotten hurt or not been able to finish due to an injury, I may never have run again.

Well, I won’t be running again for at least two weeks. I finally decided to go to the doctor because I am at the point where I am not even walking normal because it hurts. I met Dr. Scott when he was a personal trainer at Lifetime Fitness. I really liked working with him because he was never trying to push training sessions on me. I could go to my training session with him and not have to worry that when it was over he was going to be pressuring me to sign up for another. He was genuine, honest, humble, and he knew his stuff. Dr. Scott also had his own business, Performance Healthcare, where he is a chiropractor and a Corrective Exercise Specialist. So when I finally decided to go to the doctor, Dr. Scott was the first person I thought of. He told me he had previous experience with IT band injuries, and he would be able to determine if that was what was causing the pain.

I was pretty excited for my appointment this morning. I just wanted to know what was wrong, and what I had to do to get better.  All I want is to be able to run without pain.  A week or so ago, I had finally got to the point where I could run, very slowly, without walking, only to have to walk because I was in pain.

Dr. Scott immediately knew this was IT band injury. I was cringing. I have trigger points from above my hip bone to the bottom of my knee. That whole part of my leg was so tight and tender that I nearly jumped off the table as Dr. Scott was manipulating and massaging my leg. Until he started manipulating the IT band, I didn’t realize how much pain I actually had in my leg as I was so focused on the pain in my hip and knee.

It turns out that my TFL muscle (tensor fasciæ latæ) has been firing away while my glutes have sat on the sidelines and watched! Hence, I have a useless ass.

The IT band connects to this TFL muscle, and it is this muscle which is causing the IT band to be tight. This TFL muscle is overacting because my glutes aren’t doing their job. I finally have an official diagnosis! The good news was it was just an IT band issue, but the bad news is that it is a really bad IT band issue.

My rehab/exercise protocol:

  1. No running or walking for two weeks. My approved cardio is either biking or swimming. I will most likely be doing the stationary bike, unless I finally go out and by myself a bike.
  2. Foam roll, TFL stretch, and glute stretch five times a day, everyday for the next three weeks.
  3. Side steps, bridge on my heels, and stork balance three sets of 20 once a day, everyday for the next three weeks.
  4. Ice the affected area.
  5. At the beginning of my third week I need to test the waters. I need to go for a run and see if I can make it past the distance in which the pain usually presents itself. If so, keep running unless or until I feel pain. If not, stop and take notes.
I will be seeing Dr. Scott in three weeks to measure my progress, and to assess my running. The IT band is a very dense and fibrous tendon, and mine is very, very tight. These stretches and foam rolling might just be the beginning. Depending on where I am at in three weeks we may try Graston Technique. Based on the current tightness of the band and my current level of pain, I would not be able to endure the Graston Technique right now. Dr. Scott said I would walk away looking and feeling beaten and bruised!
I may be down for the count, but don’t rule me out.  I trust Dr. Scott’s protocol and plan on coming back stronger than ever, hopefully with better running form!

2 comments on “Who Knew I Had a Useless Ass?

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