Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Steps I took to resolve IT Band and Hip Pain: Things I've tried when nothing would work

Sorry for such a late post today but if you have read the blog earlier this week you may have remembered that today I had my appointment with the Orthopedist.   Instead of just telling you what happened there today, I thought I would give a run down of what all I've been through while dealing with this IT Band  and hip pain. It seems like I've been reading that quite a few other runners are starting to have the same pain/symptom as I had.

I am not dispensing medical advice, I am simply just sharing what I have done, what worked and what didn't. It has been a long road ( and a painful one)

In January: I started to have my pain It was on the side of my knee and it was an awful pinching feeling. It was actually both knees.
 Some things that I had been doing that may or may not have contributed to the pain:

 *I got a new pair of Drop zero shoes back in October. Although I was wearing them gradually, I was starting to wear them more regularly.

* I was running on the treadmill more often.

* I may have been increasing my mileage too quickly ( Doing 4 miles one day and the 10 miles the next) I assumed that since I had already been able to run 13.1 miles that I would be okay running any distance at anytime. Not the case.

*I was getting lazy and instead of driving to my favorite trails, I would run along the road/highway near my house. The unevenness of the road is not a good thing.

I have posted about my pain several times and many bloggers gave some great advice. I followed the advice of one blogger who told me to seek a Chiropractor that does ART ( Active Release Therapy), so I did.  After my first visit, he said that he would not perform ART on me because it would hurt way too bad ( I knew that it was painful and was prepared for that, but it was a no go). He sent me home with a list of stretches to do in hopes that we could fix the problem that way. I had gone back a few times before The Disney Princess half in hopes that I could get some relief.

February:  I ran the Royal Family 5K, the enchanted 10k, and the Princess Half Marathon. After each race I promptly came back to the resort and iced my legs. I got through the half marathon by jogging, walking and then sprinting. The faster I ran, the less the pain was. But I could not keep up that pace for all 13.1 miles.


March: After the races, my IT band pain was even worse and the pain had now traveled to my hips and it was bad.  The pain was worse at night and in a book I had read it said that was normal. As your body gets tires, the pain will feel worse. Even though the IT band exercises and stretches were not painful for me to do ( they actually felt good), I couldn't do some of the other stretches that involved hip movement. I told the Chriro that too.  After several weeks of Chiro with no results, I started going to Physical Therapy. 
My legs were SO weak when I first started PT.

I went over the list of the things that I did differently and my PT told me that if a runner is a strong enough runner, then they can wear any shoe and to not blame my injury on the shoes ( not sure if I agree with that yet).   He told me that I was weak and that's why I was injured. He was tough on me, but that is what I needed. I wanted to get through this because I was registered to run the Big Sur Marathon at the End of April.  We all know how that turned out!

April: I'm Still going to PT and doing the stretches and strengthening exercises at home. My legs are getting stronger but I am still having some pain. Most of the pain again was when I was doing the exercises or stretches that involved hip movement. I told my PT this too.

 I was able to do the April Fools 11K.  I wanted to bump myself down to the 7K, but since they wouldn't let me, I sucked it up and did the 11K. I'm glad I did it. It was painful, but I finished and was actually pretty happy with my time!

May: Both my chiropractor and PT told me that they could no longer help me and that I needed to seek another medical professional for possible x-rays. I went to my family dr.  and right away he could tell that I had an inflamed bursa and that is why I was still having hip pain. He gave me a shot of cortisone in the left hip and it has been fine ever since.  When I called back to say that I was still having pain in the right side and in my lower back, he decided that I should go to Ortho.

June: I started running again regularly  and although I am having very little IT pain/knee pain when I run, I am in much pain when I am seated or standing in one place.  I couldn't believe that I made an appointment for ortho back in May and I had to wait till July. How would I get though

July: So this brings me to today. I had my ortho appointment. I had the x-rays done and everything came back normal. After being examined by the doctor and me telling hip where most of the pain was, we also said that he thought it was an inflamed bursa. So guess what he did? He gave me a cortisone shot in the right hip this time.

So I was going on 6 months of pain when I probably could have just got a cortisone shot to begin with. I went 6 weeks at Chiro saying that I had a problem with my hip, and nothing. I did 6 weeks of PT and also said I knew there was something wrong with my hip and nothing was done there as well.

I am hoping that all of this pain is behind me now.
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Here are a few tips for those of you who may be suffering with IT Band pain now.

*Stretch and strengthen as much as you can.  I had a set of stretches and a strength exercise I was doing after every run  last summer and fall and I can't believe that my body had lost that much strength over the winter to cause that injury but apparently it had.   Here are a few great stretches.

*Because I was running while injured, I aggravate my hips as well. If you feel you are in pain. Stop running.

*Don't be afraid to get the cortisone shot. I had heard various opinions on cortisone shots like they only provide temporary relieve and once you get it you will have to keep getting the, etc, etc.  The reality of it is ( from my doctor) is that the shot can actually help in the healing process. It helps the swelling to start going down. it may work and you may never have to get the shot again.

* They numb the area they will shoot the cortisone in. It's not that painful. But after you get it, make sure that you keep moving around and that you are active. This will allow the medicine to circulate better.

* Its not just runners that suffer from IT band injuries. Cyclers get them often too. So don't think you will avoid it by cycling instead of running.  Make sure you do your stretches after your bike rides too.




Again, this is just my story of how I've dealt with my IT band / Hip pain over the last 6 months. maybe some of these ideas will work for you but you should certainly see a medical professional first.

Now that I have all this taken care of, I am going to schedule my much needed massage!
Thank you for everyone that offered suggestions and advice to me during that past several months.

(If you read through this whole long post, thank you) -M


39 comments:

  1. Oh girlfriend, I am SO right there with you again. I've been battling this crap since 2012. Chiro, PT, massage, EMS, stretches, exercises, blahblahblah. It all helped. Temporarily. Enter the 2014 WDW Half and my personal hell - 6 miles of dragging my leg behind me looking suspiciously like Peg Leg Pirate Girl. Now I'm back in the gym to cross-train and finding MUCH better results. Ironically, as I'm writing this, the hubby calls from the chiro who's treating his PF with laser tx. He put him on the phone with me and guess what my next adventure is going to be? The doc said he's had good results when combined with deep tissue massage, so we shall see. May be something you want to investigate!

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    1. What is laser tx? Hopefully I will not have to resort to something else but it is nice to know about other options.

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    2. It's just a laser they move over the areas you're having pain. It doesn't hurt, just a slight warm feeling. The hubs has only had two treatments so far and the doc said it takes about 6-8 to feel noticeable relief. I actually had it done on my second Lab (yup, the mutt!) when she was 13. For a few days after each treatment, she actually moved a lot better...other than the melon sized tumor on her hip. What IS it with Labs and darn tumors, anyway?

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  2. Man, do I feel your frustrations! The run around with diagnosing running injuries is so so so SO frustrating! It's why I don't go to the doctor unless I feel helpless that I can't heal things on my own. I'm taking naproxen to help reduce inflammation in my hips/back - did any of your doctors recommend that? I'm not sure if its helping yet, but the heel lifts I got have seemed to help... IDK. I hope this isn't on going for you. I don't know if it's sustainable to get cortizone shots every 6 weeks!

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    1. my last shot has held me up pretty well so I am hoping this is a one and done thing! Thanks!

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  3. Wow what a mess! I can only imagine your frustrations! I really hope your latest cortisone shot helps with all of the pain, and that it stays away. Injuries are no fun!

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    1. Although the shot wasn't that bad, I am hoping not to have to get it again!

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  4. I'm glad that you are starting to feel a little better!! The orthopedist was my first stop and they gave me steroids to help with the pain and reduce the swelling. I don't ever really use medication, so it was a shock to me when the steroids made me feel better! I'm pretty much healed for the most part. I was stiff this week, but I did some yoga and that made a HUGE difference!

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    1. Thank you Rachel! I am glad that you are feeling some relief too!

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  5. Glad you've gotten some relief! Injuries are awful but injuries that linger and aren't diagnosed properly are just terribly frustrating! I had a cortisone shot in my right wrist 3 1/2 years ago and the pain still hasn't come back. The ortho dr wanted to operate on it, but because Eli was only 4 weeks old at the time, I said no. He said the cortisone would only help for a few months, but here I am over three years later with no problems and no surgery! Hope you have similar results!

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    1. I do hope that I have the same luck you did with the cortisone. I will be VERY thankful if this works. I am just so sorry it took everyone 6 months to figure out what could help me.

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  6. I'm glad you're doing better! Pain that just never seems to get better is so frustrating!

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    1. Thanks Becky! And yes it has been a real downer for most of the year!

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  7. With all the hip strengthening exercises PT has me doing, it's amazing how much strength I've lost over the years. I never considered them strong, but sports kept them strong enough.

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    1. You are lucky to still have had some strength. I really thought I was strength training but apparently it wasn't enough.

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  8. Hope the cortisone helps you recover faster. I totally agree that if you are in pain, you should stop running. Have made that mistake myself earlier this year and ended up with a stress fracture. Not fun! Stretching is so important and taking rest days. Thanks for sharing great post. Confessions of A Mother Runner

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! I hope your fracture is healing nicely.

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  9. Get well soon, darling! And a definite yay to a massage. It's time to treat yourself! <3 xoxo

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    1. I know, i'm really looking forward to it!

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  10. I knew you have been having problems, but I didn't know until today that it has been going on as long as it has! I really hope this cortizone shot does the trick and lets you get back into things (gradually) but as you'd like!
    I've never had IT problems, but my mom is going through them now and I know they can be quite a bear and difficult thing to get through.
    I had a bursa sack in my hip a few years ago, and I know how painful those are, I too got the cortizone shot mixed with a couple other things and I have never had problems since.
    Keep us updated, I really hope this is the end of it and you'll be pain free and comeback even stronger than before!!!

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    1. I'm curious how a Bursa sac develops? As of now my hip is still sore from the shot but I am hoping that goes away soon. I hope your mom finds some relief for her pain too!

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  11. I went through this after my first marathon when I thought it would be a good idea to go to minimalist shoes with no transition. It did me in. PT for 2 months and a near nervous breakdown. I now have a set of exercises that I do a few times a week and am foam rolling as much as possible. I recently tried PiYo Lower Body workout and low and behold, my PT exercises were on there. Could have saved me a ton of money!! I also got to take steroids for a week and that seemed to help initially but then it came back. Strengthening and stretching are the KEYS!!!

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    1. Yes, I agree. I thought I had been doing those things but apparently it wasn't enough.

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  12. This is a really great post. I actually know a couple people who are struggling with IT Band issues right now and I'm going to pass this along to them! Thank you! :)

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    1. Thank you for doing so. I know I tried to get info from all sources while I was dealing with this!

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  13. What a frustrating few months. :0( I totally understand your pain and I truly hope that your cortisone shot from the Ortho helps and more importantly, heals!

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    1. Thanks Lauren! I hope you have a speedy recovery as well.

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  14. Isn't it aggravating when you can't get answers that help?!?! Hopefully that shot will take care of it for you. I guess with running, pain & injuries are just a part of it...

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    1. It's too bad that we are trying to do something healthy for ourselves and we end up injured. Hope your knee heals soon!

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  15. Uggh, so sorry you have had to go through all of this when the answer was a quick cortisone shot. But look forward, nothing you can do about it now! I hope the shots continue to work for you!

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    1. Thanks Sue. I will be glad if the cortisone is an easy fix!

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  16. Please tell me you have changed shoes! I am on my phone so it's a PIA to type...I'll get back to you! ;-)

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    1. I'm anxious to hear what all you have to say about this!

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  17. I hope you feel better soon!
    Thank you for posting on my blog today about my tough decision. It was very sweet of you! Thank you :)

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  18. Wow, how frustrating! I hope you heal and feel better soon!!!

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  19. This is actually the first year in my five years of running that I've ever had IT pain. :( I feel like since I've had it I hear more and more people say that they are also suffering with it. My PT also told me to stop running on the shoulders of the road, which I did for the entire winter and most of spring due to snow and ice on the trail. I also noticed mine get worse when I ran hilly routes.

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  20. You've certainly worked hard at getting better! Hopefully, your pain will lessen soon so that you won't have to remember 2014 as the year of pain.

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  21. I'm so glad you were able to get a shot, I hope it helps you! You have been trying to do everything right so my fingers are crossed for you!!

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  22. I hope the cortisone shot helps!! I had some IT band pain back in February/March and foam rolling and yoga (pigeon pose) did wonders for me! Good luck in your healing process!!

    WhatTheHeckWhyNot?

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