Thursday, April 27, 2006

I have discovered the instrument of hell and it is a foam roller

On Monday, Susan (the masseuse) gave me three things I need to do:

1) Massage my tibias.

2) Stretch my hip flexors.

3) Roll my IT bands on a foam roller.

Number (1), no problem! Number (2), I do that anyways for my back! Number (3)? Someone please shoot me before I have to do that again. Who knew that a cylinder of styrofoam could cause so much pain? I called Kori, who is a pro at this, and she affirmed that it indeed sucks.

The styrofoam cylinder of death seems so unassuming. And then I lay on top of it and tried rolling my IT band and I could do about one roll down my thigh, screaming expletives the whole time. I made myself do 5 each leg (with about a minute rest between rolls).

I stole this picture from the internet somewhere, but it describes my feelings.


Lisa said...


but funny.

pete mo said...

Recipe for how I achieved IT-bliss in 2002 and have not been bothered by it since:

1) Got new shoes. (And replace them frequently! I go through 2-3 pairs per year) I Went to fancy running-gear store, told the dude that I was at a crossroads- I would either quit running right then and there or he'd hook me up with something to fix my IT woes. He set me up with lighter-weight shoes with lots of cushion (I run in Mizuno Wave Riders ever since). Then he told me to quit running always on the left side of crowned roads. Hmmm...

2) Stretch IT band before running (if your IT band already hurts its too late, don't stretch then because it just makes the inflammation more inflamed -- go home and have a beer and rest!). My favorite stretch: the bowling-follow-through. Imagine you 're at the lanes and you just sent the ball a'rollin'. You've got, if you're a righty, your left leg in front, knee bent, supporting most of your weight. Your right leg is stretched out to the left, behind your left leg. The sole of your shoe pointing to the left with the outside of your foot against the ground and your knee straight (does that make sense?). Then bend from the waist to your left until you can feel the whole outside part of your right leg stretching. Its nice to stand against a wall or a railing or a car to keep your balance. Anyway, it helps me enormously and I do this stretch on both sides every day before I run.

3) Vitamin I before a long run. 'nuff said.

4) Don't go from 15 miles/week to 40 miles/week too quickly. Build gradually.

Give it a try if you've given up on other options.
Good luck.


Danielle said...

That stretch was like some weird running version of Twister :-) I started doing it in my office and then my officemates started looking at me funny. But once I got into it, I knew which stretch it was. Although I must say that I don't think I bowl right, since my foot never ends up like that (but the good people seem to :-))

I am fortunately at the point where my IT band doesn't hurt, it just feels tight, so I am in injury prevention mode.

Mark said...

Have been doing some reading up on this as have been feeling my IT band after my longer runs in recent weeks. Another good stretch (for the right leg) is to cross the right leg at right angles over the left knee while standing, or, similar to Pete's stretch, cross right ankle behind left and stretch arms down towards left ankle. Taking an anti-inflammatory isn't such a bad idea either, you can take ibuprofen or else ginger if you prefer something more natural (ginger tea is my favourite).

Danielle said...

I didn't realize ginger was good for that! I love ginger tea. When I lived in the DR, we would just pop some ginger root and cinnamon sticks in a pot of water and boil and it was soooo yummy. Now I have a good reason to drink lots of it!