First Post-Injury Run

While Matt, Kristen, and Harry have been absolutely killing some long distance runs, I have been struggling to control my IT Band pain post-Marine Corps. The first week, I was on the struggle bus pretty much all week. My left outer knee pain was pretty crippling, and I was SURE I was losing a toenail on my right foot. Not only was it was late October and I was stuck wearing sandals to keep my toe free, but I was hobbling everywhere thanks to just general soreness post-marathon. Glad that’s over with at least!

Hips
Side-stepping: keep knees bent, step to the left until your hips are tired, then to the right. Repeat until fatigued.

I attempted to see my physical therapist the Friday after, but my knee hurt even with simple tissue healing exercises. She told me to just keep moving it as much as I could, and do any exercises that didn’t cause pain. The following week I was able to start doing tissue healing exercises with my TheraBand, but was still struggling walking up and down stairs, as well as kneeling/squatting.

Finally, this week has been pain free. I’ve been continuing tissue healing exercises every day, as well as some strengthening exercises for my hips and glutes. I went for a short run yesterday (in some new shoes – let’s hope I don’t have any toenail issues in these ones) and it felt great. My plan for the next few weeks is to focus on continuing my exercises, foam rolling, stretching, and going on some shorter runs to get my base back up without pushing my mileage too quickly.

One of my favorite IT band stretches

As much as I’m itching to get back on the trails and sign up for my next ultra, I need to remember I’m not a robot, I’m prone to injury, and I need to take it one step at a time if I want to continue distance running without ending up under the knife again from injury.

Top: feet together, push knees apart to strengthen outer hips. Middle: Lift/lower hips while keeping knees equal distance apart. Bottom: Clamshells, 12-15 reps on each side, 3 sets

My last trail runs caused me a lot of IT Band-related pain, so I’m planning on sticking with road runs until I have focused on strengthening the muscles that aren’t necessarily used in road running. Trails are a whole different ball game, and I need to try my best to avoid causing any pain that could set back my recovery. I miss my trail running ladies and gents, but I know they’ll welcome me back with some big hugs and laugh-filled miles when I’m ready!

P.S. Still have my toenail – pretty sure it’s here to stay!
P.P.S. These photos were results from google searches. Check out the websites for more detailed information!
http://www.hygenicblog.com/2009/07/05/mike-reinold-on-thera-band-loops-for-knee-rehabilitation/
http://www.hygenicblog.com/2012/05/09/the-clam-shell-hip-exercise/
http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/c25k/Pages/knee-exercises.aspx

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