I think I’m finally figuring out my knee issues! It just took an upcoming race for me to actually sit down and research the pain and some ways to help it. I’ve been stretching it just a couple days this week but it’s already feeling significantly better and hasn’t been bugging me on a run or post-run!
I’m pretty sure the issue stems from my IT band. ITBS is often referred to as runner’s knee and happens from overuse. Now, I don’t know how I started with this issue since I wasn’t running when the knee pain began, I guess all the heavy squatting was overuse. Maybe some cartilage is rubbing on the joint causing friction.. Not totally sure. Not a doctor.
What I do know is that I’ve been using the foam roller to work out the IT band after I run or lift and it’s crazy how much it’s helped in less than a week. Usually when I run, after just 1 mile I can start to feel a little prickle of pain but I concentrate on my stride and I can get rid of it. Later on is when the pain and stiffness start.
Here are just 3 stretches I’ve been doing with the foam roller at the ends of my workouts. I can kind of tell the path the pain is on, so I try to make sure the roller follows that path.
Here I put the roller above my knee. The side of my leg is on the roller and I slowly roll up and down the band/muscle. The roller goes from about mid thigh to the top of the knee. My toes are off the ground and most of me weight is in my hands and left foot.
Next is moving the roller under my knee and just rolling about 2″ down and back up. The IT Band attaches just past the knee so it makes sense that I have pain down this way. I’m rolling off the IT band, but it feels really good so I’m gonna keep doing it.
And lastly, I put the roller just behind my knees. Not positive what this is helping, but it feels good. I have a little tension back there and whenever I complain about my knee to my chiropractor, she mentions there’s a little swelling on the right knee.
My next step is to add some hip work into these stretches. The muscle the IT band connects to also needs to be worked out. This can be achieved by laying on your right side with a tennis ball just under your hip and pulling the right knee up and straightening it back down. This guy has a great explanation and visual of it.
Now, it’s hard to miss that purple tape display all over my knee, huh? I decided to try out some KT Tape, Kinesiology Tape, to help my knee pain for the race. I’m pretty concerned about injuring it since it bugs me after a couple miles and I have to go for at least 8 next week!
So, if you don’t know, this tape is designed to go over soft muscles to aid in support and pain relief. I’ve seen a lot of athletes wearing it over the years and I’ve also heard it doesn’t really work. But where’s the harm in trying it? I put it on this morning, feels pretty good – it’s soft and lightweight, my knee didn’t hurt at all during my run – and it comes in tons of colors!
I overdid it a bit with the 2 vertical strips; when I change them I’m going to go in between the two. That’s where the point of pain lies.
And I’m going to see if my chiropractor can tape me in a way that will help support my scoliosis for the Spartan race NEXT WEEK (AhHhHhHhHhHHhHHHhhh). I couldn’t find any videos for scoliosis support – just general lower back pain. I’m curious to see if it works and how well it helps me. Stay tuned for that post!