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IT Band Syndrome

Written by Tom McGlynn March 07, 2020
it_bandHow to treat the IT band - 

What is IT Band Syndrome?
The Iliotibial Band, or IT Band, is a dense band of connective tissue that originates in the hip (iliacus), runs down the outside of the leg and inserts just below the knee.  Every time you bend your knee the IT Band crosses over a bony protrusion at the outside of your knee.  If the band becomes tight it starts to snap more aggressively over this bone and it can then get irritated and inflamed.  When this happens you have IT Band Syndrome.

Common signals or symptoms:
- The most common symptom is pain at the outside of the knee.  
- Tightness at the outside of the hip.
- Soreness in the lateral (outside) quad muscle.
- Swelling around the knee

Prevention Tips:
There are a number of things a runner can do to prevent IT Band Syndrome.  
The easiest thing to do is use a foam roller, "the stick" or some other form of self massage.  This is probably the most effective thing you can do to keep the IT Band loose.  There are also various IT Band stretches but many people have a hard time getting into a position where they actually feel an effective IT Band stretch.
Other causes:
  • -Lazy stretching routine 
  • -Pushing too hard -- run too far or for too long
  • -Lack of rest between workouts
  • -Worn-out sneakers
  • -Steep downhill runs
  • -Running only on one side of the road (Roads slope toward the curb, which tilt your hips and IT band)

The most effective treatment is rest.
If your knee is swollen, ice, compress and elevate.
If you can find a pool, you can swim to maintain aerobic conditioning.
Get a massage on your quads, hips, and hamstrings 
Foam roll 2-3 times per day
Perform IT band, glute stretngth exercises

Video demonstrating Hamstring Bridge (also works glutes)
Video demonstrating Single Leg Squat
Video demonstrating Glute Stretch

PlantarLet's talk about Plantar Fasciitis

What is Plantar Fasciitis?

Most often felt in the heel,  over 50% of Americans will experience this pain during their lifetime.
Plantar fasciitis (PF) is a condition caused by drastic or sudden increases in mileage, poor foot structure, and inappropriate running shoes, which can overload the plantar fascia (the connective tissue that runs from your heel to the base of your toes), resulting in heel pain.

Self Identify PF:
- Sharp stab or deep ache in the heel
- Pain on the bottom of the foot in the arch
- Worst in the mornings. First few steps out of bed are excrucating
-  Pain experienced during "push off" while running

Common causes of plantar fasciitis:

PF occurs due to a variety of reasons: overuse of improper, non-supportive shoes, over-training in sports, lack of flexibility, weight gain, too much standing. 

Plantar Fasciitis Treatment:

As with any pain ice and rest is the first step. Fill a bucket of water and add ice to it. Stick your foot in. Another option is to freeze a plastic bottle of water and roll your foot with it.
Other options:
- Use a lacrosse ball or golf ball to massage your foot. Gently roll over the pain spots.
- Use an Arch support
- Update your shoes 

If pain is present for more than three weeks, see a medical professional about the problem. Treatment options such as orthotics, foot taping, cortisone injections, night splints, and anti-inflammatories can help.

Shin Splints

Written by Coach Hiruni Wijayaratne February 29, 2020

shinsplintWe are beginning a new column where we will dive into some of the most common running injuries. First up: Shin Splints.

This is the pain felt along the front of your lower leg, at the shin bone. 

Shin splints are common among runners  who increase frequency, volume, or intensity of training, along with improperly fitting footwear or worn out shoes can cause problems. Also frequent running on hard surfaces can cause shin pain.

How to prevent them?

The first thing is to understand what they are.  Then you know what stresses you are putting on your body.  Consider the age and appropriateness of your shoes and review your training to make sure you aren’t making any huge sudden jumps.   Many runners with shin splints also report tight calves and relatively modest strength in the lower leg muscles. Proper stretching and strengthening of the calf muscles can help.   One productive exercise is heel walking.  [Check out our Heel Walking Demo Video here.]

If we feel shin splints coming on, what should we do?

There is an inflammatory component here, so ice can help a lot.  A reduction in training intensity and a change in running surfaces may be required to allow the symptoms to subside.  Anti-inflammatories may be appropriate, but consult your physician to ensure they are a safe choice for you.  If symptoms persist or become steadily worse, make an appointment with your doctor.

The suggested amount of downtime is typically about two weeks. During this time, you can engage in sports or activities that are less likely to cause additional harm to your legs. These activities include swimming or walking.

Your doctor will often suggest that you do the following:

  • Keep your legs elevated.
  • Use ice or a cold compress.
  • Wear elastic compression bandages.
  • Use a foam roller.

Check with your doctor before restarting any activities. Warming up before exercising is also a good way to make sure your legs aren’t sore.

Do you want to incorporate strength training into your routine? hqdefaultThe use of specific exercises to gain strength and decrease weakness can greatly support your running endeavors and help avoid injuries. Add these four exercises into your training program at least twice per week, and after a month of consistency, see if you feel stronger, faster, and more durable.



One Leg Squat


Do you find one side of your body to fatigue more quickly than the other? Stay focused on this strength training routine, and see if you are able to even out the imbalances.

ashley perrott_familytri_smallOne of the most challenging parts of getting fit is staying healthy and injury free.  Dr. Ashley Perrott  is an Ironman finisher, busy mom, and family medicine physician at Novant Health Salem Family Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. (See photo, left, of Ashley with her parents and brother Brett Miller, our Director of Business Development, at the start of Ironman Florida, which the whole family completed together!) Dr. Perrott is answering some of the most-common questions our users have on staying on track.

One of the biggest mistakes runners and athletes make is that they rush back from injury, and don't give their bodies adequate opportunities to heal, repair, and gradually build back to the level of activity they did before the injury.  This prolongues the healing process, and in some cases, it can cause chronic pain and discomfort. Some athletes, trying to stubbornly run through the pain, end up altering their gait patterns to compensate for the discomfort, and end up with new injuries.

While each injury is as unique as each athlete, most strains, sprains, and soft-tissue injuries follow predictable patterns of recovery and healing. If you have any pain or discomfort that persists or worsens as you exercise, and continues even with two to three days of rest, be sure to see a medical professional to get guidance on the nature of the injury, and the collaborate on a plan for rehabilitation and return to running and other sports you do on a regular basis. 

Below are the typical stages of injury.  Respect each stage, take time to complete it and give your body the opportunity to properly heal so you can come back strong. Remember: you only get ONE chance to recover from an injury.  Don't rush it and end up chronically injured. Here are the general stages you can expect to go through on your road to recovery.
Phase 1: Protection/Acute Inflammation
With a soft-tissue injury, such as a pulled muscle or a twisted ankle, initially the pain, bleeding, and swelling continues through the first two to four days after the initial injury, depending on what type of injury it is. To help reduce discomfort, try over-the-counter NSAIDs and RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation).  Ice the injured area for 10 minutes at a time to decrease the blood flow to the injury, which will decrease the inflammation and pain. Talk with a medical professional about what sorts of precautions—if any—you’ll need to take with daily activities, like walking, taking stairs, etc., and what types of exercise you can do to keep up your cardiovascular health (and sanity!) while you recover.
Phase 2: Transition
This is when repair of the injured tissues gets underway. This can last up to six weeks. During this time, the body is generating new soft tissue to replace what has been damaged. It’s important to avoid NSAIDs at this stage, as studies have shown that this can interfere with the healing process.  To facilitate healing during this time, talk with your doctor about the types of range-of-motion and gentle stretching exercises you can do without interfering with recovery. Inflammatory response and pain should dissipate during this phase.  If chronic or acute pain continues, consult your doctor.
Phase 3: Remodeling
At this stage, new soft tissue stretches and strengthens, but it may not be sufficiently strong enough to return to your normal volume and intensity of activity. Talk with your doctor about what kinds of activities you can safely do to keep up your cardiovascular fitness without interfering with the healing process. 
Phase 4: The Functional Phase.
This phase typically begins about two weeks after the injury, and can it can last up to six months, depending on the severity of the injury, and the success of the previous stages. This is the time that you can start returning to your regular level of activity. At this stage, you can start to work on returning to the sport—without risking re-injury as long as you have clearance from your doctor. Work on increasing strength, endurance, speed, agility, and flexibility under the guidance of a medical professional. Stop if you have any sensations of pain or strain.

ashley perrott tri mediumOne of the most challenging parts of getting fit is staying healthy and injury free.  Dr. Ashley Perrott  is an Ironman finisher, busy mom, and family medicine physician at Novant Health Salem Family Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. (See photo, left, of Ashley with her parents and brother Brett Miller, our Director of Business Development, at the start of Ironman Florida, which the whole family completed together!) Dr. Perrott is answering some of the most-common questions our users have on staying on track. 

How do you know which aches and pains you can keep exercising through, and which ones should send you running to a doctor?


Joint pains are more concerning than muscle pains in general.  Muscle soreness can be expected for 1-2 days after a more intense workout or more intense week of training.  This soreness should improve daily.  Recovery with rest or light workouts after an intense workout can help muscle soreness and stiffness.  Muscle injury lasts longer than this, and may prevent the ability to complete a light workout or even regular activity.  Rest will generally help this pain and soreness.  Any pain that gets worse with activity should prompt the athlete to reduce speed/intensity to avoid injury.  Muscle pain or weakness that persists despite rest is a reason to see your MD.

Joint or bone pain, swelling, or redness may represent more significant injury.  Certainly a specific episode of injury (rolling ankle, falling, tripping) that causes deformity should prompt an evaluation at the MD in some fashion.  Joint pain is worse with pressure on that joint even at rest.  Patients may complain of pain with standing, sitting, or laying down.  Instability is another concerning sign/symptom.  if a joint “gives out” or “catches” with activity it’s something that we would like to see.

In general an increase of more than 10% mileage or intensity per week can be associated with more injury.   

Have a question about staying healthy and injury free? Contact Us.