Sidelined with Iliotibial band syndrome and Dove bars, or: “We don’t move in any ‘ticular direction…”

itband.anatWelcome to the latest episode of “What’s Ailing Hokeyboy Lately?”, where we discover the *second* IBS I’ve come across in this lifetime, although this one involves a lot less technicolor yawning…

So just when I got over the shin splints from last month, I noticed a new particularity that came about a week-and-a-half ago. After running the Disney marathon on 1/13, I took about a week off from all physical activity. It was a gloriously inertial time, replete with watching tons of TV, catching up on my gaming and attempting to eat relatively healthy; what four out of five Dentists refer to as “Acute Hyper-Accelerated Me-Time”, or AHA-MT. Similar to when making a sudden Holmes-like deduction and exclaiming proudly about your success, only to find yourself on the Trade Channel. In The Barrens. While school is out.

That metaphor was the living definition Geeky Insular. Never mind.

Anyway, on 1/19 I met with the Runnin’ Pals and we did an easy 6-miles. By the end I was noticing a little soreness around my left knee, but I chalked that up to still being a little out-of-sorts from running 26 miles the week before. Totally natural, of course. A few nights later I met the Pals at the park for another easy 5-miles. This time I was definitely feeling it more pronounced, not painful but sore. I stretched it out, went home, rubbed it with Icy-Hot (and my knee, too), and that was that.

That is, until I woke up the next morning, got up, and unleashed a girly-scream of excruciating woe that woke up canines as far away as Poughkeepsie and possibly even Oconomowoc. The knee struck hard with a vengeance. Stiff, sore, painful.

Enter the RICE. I suspended activity for *another* week, wrapped that sucker up, iced it, limped around for two days, and by the weekend it was fine. I figured by Monday (yesterday) I’d test it out with some elliptical at the gym. Nothing too intense, just wanted to get the lower body moving again. No dice. The pain returned in about 15 minutes. I could feel it around the side and back of the knee, radiating a little into my shin. It wasn’t as painful as compared to the first time I got it, or as lasting, but it’s definitely there, and there’s definitely A Problem.

I hit the InterTubes this morning, did my research, checked out my symptoms, and self-diagnosed the issue as Iliotibial Band Syndrome. Apparently common among runners, this is an inflammation of a fibrous band that runs down the side of the leg, from the hip all the way to the knee. The pain isn’t severe — at WORST maybe 4 on the 10 scale — and it only comes around either with physical exertion or if I’ve been sitting too long or sleeping, and in the latter case, it’s only a mild soreness rather than pain which goes away after walking around some. So it isn’t a severe problem.

But it’s a problem nonetheless. Especially when you call your father, who is an Ivy League-educated orthopedic surgeon and quite possibly the most brilliant man on the planet, and he proceeds to give you a massive lecture on how running long-distances repeatedly is one of the worst things you can to do your body, and it’s time to get a new hobby, etc. Love you Dad! So anyway, the treatment is going to be simple: 1) I’m off running for at least a week, most likely two, 2) I’ve researched an all-new stretching regimen that will work the IT band, including foam rolling, 3) Lots of compression, of the knee and shins and possibly the upper thigh as well, 4) Alternative low-area-impact exercises to keep myself fit, including more upper body weight training and stationary bike to keep the lower area moving, and 5) Dove bars. Dove bars are delicious and I haven’t had one in forever. I’d really like a Dove bar. If I stick to my treatment plan without fail, I will have one Dove bar a week. This is what I call “Living Dangerously”.

I’ve got the Tough Mudder and the Rock N Roll USA marathon events coming up in March. And I want to give both events my best. But neither is worth blowing my knee out. So we’ll take this one day at a time and see how it goes. If I’m lucky, I’ll have this licked reasonably soon. Otherwise, I’ll take whatever time is needed to get this worked out. Nothing is worth damaging my┬álong-term┬áhealth prospects or, even worse, blowing my one and only shot of having a Dove bar on any given week. Priorities, people! Here’s the video:

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