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For those who have had IT Band tendonitis(17 posts)

For those who have had IT Band tendonitisKristin
Nov 7, 2001 7:28 AM
How did you get this injury?
What does the pain feel like for you?
How long did it take you to completely recover?
What kinda miles were you able to do without pain?
Did you see a doctor or self medicate?
When not able to ride, what other excercise/training did you do?
Did you change your bike setup and or riding style as a result of ITBS?
+Add any thing else you think relevant.

Thanks for answering these questions. I'm kinda in limbo with this injury. In a zone where I wonder if it will ever heal. There's plenty of online info about "what" ITBS is; but very little testimonials. I'm wondering what I can expect in the months to come.

I was able to ride this weekend. 25 miles on Saturday and 26 miles on Sunday. But the last 7 miles of Sunday were painful. (Like someone had stuck a needly into the bone and was twisting it around.) Over the summer, I was doing 25 on Sat. and 45 on Sunday. I've definatly lost a lot of ground.
Kristin, you're a stubborn old muleAlex-in-Evanston
Nov 7, 2001 8:00 AM
1) Rest!!! And I don't mean for a few days. Start with two weeks off. After two weeks, go for a short ride, if you feel anything that could remotely be IT pain - add another two weeks off. Tendonitis has one treatment - rest.

2) Do your stretches!!! Do we need to remind you what those are?

3) Don't be a rockhead!!! When you do get back on the bike, be objective in evaluating what you can do.

Good luck,

Hey, who you calling a mule?Kristin
Nov 7, 2001 8:12 AM
I can only picture Eddy Murphy is Shrek. Gawd, I hope I don't look like that!

I've got tons of stretches to do. Lots of balance work with thera-bands. My trainer wants me to do passive stretches for the IT band, so I'm using a foam roll for stretching. Its kind of a weird stretch really.

So how long did it take you to heal from yours? What did you do for cardio excercise while you were off the bike??? I really want to know!
Hey, who you calling a mule?Jack S
Nov 7, 2001 8:25 AM
the key is re-starting slowly- short rides in the beginning- and working up gradually... also, no long layoffs (shouldn'tbe a problem). with these types of injuries you tend to get into trouble when you jump right in with a long ride after not riding for awhile
Thanks but...I want to hear about you...Kristin
Nov 7, 2001 8:46 AM
Really! I wouldn't have asked otherwise. So please share about your experience with ITBS. If you feel you must slip in some personal advice, you may do so at the bottom of your post and I'll mull it over. This wasn't a solicitation for advice--I've got sports doc for that. (Sat. & Sun. were actually planned stress tests after some changes to the bike.)
you are a mule...Jack S
Nov 7, 2001 8:50 AM
I just gave you my experience except it only happens when running- and I don't run anymore... maybe you need to quit riding then
Options for time offAlex-in-Evanston
Nov 7, 2001 8:52 AM
Well, I got IT pain really bad two springs ago. After repeated attempts at short rest, I took all of March off. When I got back on it was still very painful, so I took all of April off. During that second month I started doing specific stretches and I credit that with solving the problem (but who can be sure?).

Exercises you can do while you're healing - I don't really know. IT pain is exacerbated by activity that bends the knee beyond a right angle - so don't do squats! I suppose you could swim, or try cross country skiing type exercises. But the bottom line is rest is just what it says.

One thing my orthopedist told me was to take an Alleve every morning as a prophylactic anti-inflammatory. I don't do it, and never did, but I thought I'd just pass that on. Othewise, he was a total waste of $350.

Good luck you old mule,

Nov 7, 2001 12:01 PM
Thanks for the info. If you ever need a doctor in the Chicago area, I have a sports doctor at Loyola who is an avid cyclist. They also have a physical trainer who has been specifically trained in bike fit.
reply long-sorryjbrown2036
Nov 7, 2001 8:43 AM
How did you get this injury?
**too many miles, too fast with a bad fitting and sloppy form. Essentially I was mashing a huge gear and not stretching.

What does the pain feel like for you?
** The pain was localized to my right knee along the outside. It felt like somebody was stabbing me in the knee with a screwdriver.

How long did it take you to completely recover?
** I had to take a solid month off the bike and quite frankly I probablly should have taken off more-but we cyclists are thick headed about pain. Around another 3 months learning how to spin a really high cadence and developing form to the point I wouldn't injure myself.

What kinda miles were you able to do without pain?
**none, it hurt all the time, and I probably did myself more damage by rushing my recovery and attempting to ride at all.

Did you see a doctor or self medicate?
**tried to self medicate by reading everything I could, then got scared at the thought of maybe having surgery. I think some of the websites out there have good info, but not good diagnostics-leading to exaggerated diagnosis (not a doc). Eventually I got a referal to a sports doc who promptly blew my fears out of the water and put me on PT.

When not able to ride, what other excercise/training did you do?
**I thought about going swimming and my doc reccomended it to me, but I didn't and just sat around depressed that I was too injured to ride.

Did you change your bike setup and or riding style as a result of ITBS?
** Sure nothing but good came of it. I got a fitting that made a lot of difference, got a coach to pick apart my form. Learned how to spin and train properly. Now there is no pain (do your PT and always stretch before and after). I think the biggest difference is that I know do a 45 minute warmup before every ride.

Take care or yourself. I hope all of that helped.
My experienceMel Erickson
Nov 7, 2001 9:51 AM
I don't know what caused my IT band tendonitis. Mine was in my right hip. Pain was severe just trying to walk up steps or push the accerator pedal on the car. Bike? Hah!

I basically rested and stretched for about 2 months. Saw a sports medicine doc who referred me to a PT for stretching. Tried swimming but almost drowned. Not really, but I'm not much of a swimmer and it took so much effort to do a minimal amount of laps (for an exercise I was only planning to do briefly) that I dropped it. I sat on my butt, exercise wise. Rest, stretch, rest, stretch. If you think it was caused by biking you need to figure out why. Fit? Accident? Overwork? Diagnose, then fix. You'll have a while to think about it. Going back too soon will only prolong the injury and waste valuable time in the long run. Patience.
re: For those who have had IT Band tendonitisCHRoadie
Nov 7, 2001 10:04 AM
I did the Solvang Prelude last year, and it was absolutely freezing when we started. I was a rookie and did not yet know about leg warmers. About 40 miles into the ride I started getting pain in the outside of my right knee. A few miles later I got a twin pain in my left knee.
I tried to ride again a few days later and couldn't make it around the block. I tried lots of advil and ice and rested my knees for about 2 weeks. The next time I tried to ride they started hurting again within 10 miles. I ended up taking about 2 months off of the bike, and when I got back on my knees were fine. I haven't had any problems since.
The moral to this story is: don't half-ass your recovery. Repeatedly getting back on your bike to try out your knees is like picking at a scab--it's only going to make the healing take longer.
re: For those who have had IT Band tendonitisdotkaye
Nov 7, 2001 10:12 AM
How did you get this injury?
from running in old worn-out, rebuilt shoes: excessive supination (foot falls over to the outside). I could ride without significant pain, but not run.

What does the pain feel like for you?
could not bend the knee without pain. I finished a 36 mile footrace in intense pain, did 10 miles without bending the r leg. Dumb.

How long did it take you to completely recover?
6-8 weeks of REST on average. I've had it three times severely. Often get twinges, but now I know what to do, the twinges don't progress - change shoes and start stretching, take a rest, and I can prevent it.

What kinda miles were you able to do without pain?
NONE. It's not possible to train through ITB, rest and stretching are the only cures. Then have to analyse fit/position to see why it happened in the first place.

Did you see a doctor or self medicate?
Medication for ITB treats symptoms only, it's basically pointless. Rest, stretch, analyse the biomechanics. Doctors are mostly clueless about this, rather get several different opinions on your fit on the bike.

When not able to ride, what other excercise/training did you do?
swam, lifted weights. I like to swim so it wasn't a problem. Swimming for the same time as I usually ran for was enough to preserve most cardiovascular fitness. I'd swim 40min every otherday, maybe an hour on the weekends: and lift weights 40min on the other weekdays.

Did you change your bike setup and or riding style as a result of ITBS?
Nope, bike didn't cause or exacerbate the injury. In your case it did.. so I'd guess you do need to change something. ITB is a result of a biomechanical imbalance, plus sudden increases in training load will of course aggravate matters. Have to find out what the biomechanical problem is, and fix it, or this will keep on happening.

Good luck.. it's very frustrating I know.
re: A little encouragementdzrider
Nov 7, 2001 11:17 AM
God gave me good knees and bad feet so I have no experience with ITBS. Two teammates have had expeiences that relate to your situation.

One had ITBS and found considerable relief from BeBop pedals. He now touts them to everybody he meets and we've kind of tired of it, but he is a happy rider.

Another guy participated in a study of ultra-fit athletes who took 30 days off. Almost all of them gained a few pounds, but their body's ability to process oxygen was almost unchanged. He tells us this whenever one of us is reluctant to take the time to let an injury heal.
re: For those who have had IT Band tendonitisRojoRacer
Nov 7, 2001 3:33 PM

I, like you, am a stubborn mule! I trained (and suffered) through this year with ITB. Currently I'm in a rest period where I'm taking 3 weeks off before starting off-season stuff. The ITB pain has subsided.. but read on..

>How did you get this injury?
I seriously don't know. I blame my 0% float pedals. But now I think that it could be lack of all-round stretching, and body conditioning.

>What does the pain feel like for you?
My ITB pain occurred on the outside of my left knee. The first time I felt it, it hurt when my left foot was pulling up on the pedal. I also had trouble going down stairs - not going up them. Also hurt when I walked! (didn't even try running). When riding, I found it very painful (on long rides) to get out of the saddle and pound the pedals - I had pain on the outside of my lower leg bone (near the knee).

>How long did it take you to completely recover?
I still don't think I've completely recovered, but the ITB pain (or symptom) in the left knee has subsided.

>What kinda miles were you able to do without pain?
After getting some float on pedals, I had done 50-80 mile rides, with no pain on the bike - but pain afterwards!
I recently completed a double metric where ITB started at around the 90 mile mark - I could not stand on the pedals after that.

>Did you see a doctor or self medicate?
Went to physio - gave me ITB stretches to do - they worked for a while (placebo) - Looking back, it was a waste of money/time.
Recently have had many massages - these have been great!
I also self medicated - I visited a site ( which was posted here - but can't remember URL) that proposed that the symptom of ITB is in the knee, but the cause is actually higher up , in your glutes OR your TFL muscle.. this made me look at the stretches I was doing: I wasn't doing any stretches of the glutes (one of the major muscles involved in cycling!) Since then I have been doing much more glute stretching and it has helped me.
Now the knee pain has gone, but I still feel some soreness in my left hip area which I think is tendonitis.

>When not able to ride, what other excercise/training did you do?
Stubbron mule.. eee-aww!

>Did you change your bike setup and or riding style as a result of ITBS?
not really - lowered my seat 5mm.

Hope you find something that works.
My answers ...Humma Hah
Nov 7, 2001 6:06 PM
My problem started when I switched crank length and seat height simultaneously just before a hard century with more climbing than I was accustomed to.

Pain started about 60 miles, felt like a guitar string getting plucked on the side of my knee, outside, a little rear. Trying to drive with a clutch with that bad left knee was excruciating.

I felt much better in 2 days, but the pain would recur after about 45-50 miles on subsequent easy rides.

I dropped to short rides, 25 miles and less, for several months. I also did stretching exercises shown on the Rice website (showed up easily on a search for "IT band friction syndrome").

I dropped the seat a little, avoided long rides for several months, stretched, went back to my shorter cranks, and rode a 105-mile century, then a 150+ mile ride, with no pain at all.
The Holy Trinitybreck
Nov 7, 2001 7:31 PM
The Holy Trinity of Rest, Aspirin, and Local Ice should make that devil go away. And as you know, one also needs to do specific stretching exercises to prevent recurrence. I suppose these could be interpreted as sort of prayers.

Had this at age 49 while ramping up the running miles for the big five-o. Backed off and did the stretching and took the above cure and it subsided and disappeared, never to return as of yet 10+ years to date. I suspect but don't truly know that slight leg length discrepancy may be a contributor on the longer leg as the foot over-pronates, or the shorter leg as the foot over-supinates...heck cannot remember which side it was on, etc. My case was not that bad and paid attention early on when it hurt enuff to tell me to back off. Have never had it on the bike but do put a slight heel lift under the heel in the shorter leg shoe for the trail runs.

Some reading these thread may have no clue what it is. Tight *iliotibial band* pain develops on the side of the knee where the ligament rubs and causes pain. A thick, tight cord may be felt in this area. Tightness can also be felt along the whole side of the thigh.

Stretching exercises from my notes:
1. Stand at arm's length from a wall. Cross one leg in front of the other; then with knee straight, push your hip to the wall. Stretch. Return and repeat, alternating sides, for three sets of ten.
2. Sit on the floor with your legs extended straight. Then bend one knee over the other, extend leg. Move the knee across, keeping your hips stable. Stretch. Return and repeat, alternating sides, for three sets of ten.
3. Lie flat on your back with your arm spread out, shoulder-high, to the side. Bring your right foot across your body to touch your left hand, rolling your hips as necessary but keeping your knees stiff. Alternate sides. Perform ten repetitions three time daily.

Anywho it is a bummer when you cannot train and been there done that mucho times. Reminds me of a quote could apply to bikers as well. "Runners are the fittest group of sick and injured people in the world" or some such remark, etc.

BTW, It ain't all that bad being called a Mule :)
Characteristics of mules are long ears, short mane, small feet, and tail with a tuft at the end. They get the brayin' voice, endurance and sure footedness from the jack (male donkey) and from the mare they get a well shaped body, strong muscles, ease in getting used to harness and hardy and disease resistant. Sounds like sum bikers or runners i know :)

Now them steers being called cows do worry me some but blame them Victorian's as when the Texans drove the beeves North sayin' "Bull" was not regarded proper conversation in po-lite company and "steer", well that had a non-prudent rang to it too. So we have Cow Boys then and now. As for me jes call me an Ol' Buzzard :)

It will heal - if you let it.Rod
Nov 8, 2001 4:19 PM

I got ITBS two years ago on a two-day double century ride. It was my first century, and the ITBS cause was from riding too hard at the start and pushing too high a gear. It was excrutiating, but I did finish (mule) with the aid of ibuprofen cocktails. My pain was located at the ends of the ligament, on the outside of my left knee and at the hip. It stayed with me, to a degree, for the remainder of that summer, but I got it under control during a week-long cross state tour by riding slow in easy gears. I was able to ride 20 to 30 miles without pain severe enough to compromise my ride. A slight pain was present from the outset of most rides.

I saw a doc who referred me to PT where I was given a stretching regimen, and advised to use lots of ice and ibuprofen. I also saw a massage therapist. Stretching and massage improved blood flow which hastened healing. When not riding, I lifted some weights at the gym, but didn't get any aerobic exercise.

A month after I first got ITBS I began the cross-state tour (supported, not with loaded bikes). I was afraid I might have to SAG every day, but didn't. I just fell in with a couple of rather slow riders and spun an easy gear (still stretching and taking ibuprofen cocktails all week) and the pain never got out of control. I feel very lucky about that. Subsequently, I've also lowered my saddle about a half inch and moved it back a bit to get closer to a KOPS position.

I think I've been able to prevent a recurrance by making sure to spin rather than mash (the exception being steep or difficult climbs) and from using the slightly lower saddle position. Since ITBS is an overuse condition, I try to get in plenty of training (lots of base miles at a good spin) before doing any centuries or endurance rides. So far, so good in this regard.

You've probably already been advised about spinning rather than mashing. Even if you think your bike position is perfect, especially in regard to saddle height, I'd recommend considering lowering it a bit and then see if that takes some of the pressure off the ligament at both your hip and knee.

Good luck.