Three signs of the onset of ITBS

Learn to detect the niggles of ITBS syndrome BEFORE it becomes chronic, and you could help prevent it ruining your marathon or triathlon training.

Pic credit; Girls Run the World Copyright

We all know that we should build our stability before we add volume too quickly, wear the right trainers/right cleats and improve our running/cycling technique to help prevent runners knee. But how many of us actually do this?

Not many, judging by the number of female runners and triathletes who purchase our streamed online recovery course Rehab and Return to Running for ITBS.

If you are in peak training season for an event, these are signs to look out for that will signify the start of ITBS developing.

If you can catch it early enough, and with the right preventative measures, you could prevent it ruining your training.

Three signs of ITBs

  1. Dead leg – your leg can sometimes feel strange when you are running or even sitting, as if someone has given you a dead leg.
  2. Sudden twinges – a sudden sharp pain in the outside of your knee, often accompanied with walking up or down stairs (this can also be a sign of a different knee injury so see your physio if you are experiencing this pain).
  3. Glass knee – when you bend your knee, running or sitting, it can feel as if there is ground glass behind the knee.

All of these signs can often disappear as you begin to run, and then return worse when you finish the run. This is not a sign that you can keep running through it. Eventually, it will become so chronic (and if it feels like ground glass, you’re getting there) that you’ll have to stop.

What you can do

See your physio – If you are worried, do not keep running through it. See a physio as soon as possible for a diagnosis, and to help you understand where you are.

Foam roll – foam roll down the anterior – outside – of the leg and the muscles that feed the ITB. So, the thigh muscle and TFL, that sit at the front hip part of the leg.

Professional treatment – try a soft tissue massage and also dry needling to help relieve the pain. This should be a regular occurrence if you’re training hard. It’s not a luxury but a necessary part of training.

Avoid uneven terrain – stick to the road where you are likely to be more stable as you run, helping to prevent compounding the injury.

Decrease volume – so you’ve got a long run planned? Skip it. It’s better to miss a long run and get a handle on the knee pain, than run and end up missing weeks of training. One or two missed weeks is better than a missed race and eight weeks out.