Tip 3: Stretching and Rolling
Now that I had diagnosed my second injury, I researched every possible stretch I could find. Whilst I was on youtube, I found this video all about stretching the IT band by the channel ‘Bob and Brad’. (I always make sure the channel has more than 1 million subscribers before following; they are usually the most reliable!): Video 1https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERylaMvyDbM
In another video on their channel, the physios mentioned that a triathlete asked them for help after he was struggling with excruciating pain on the outside of his knee. The link to the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShlL9EHohug He could barely walk, so they recommended he did these three exercises everyday, and after two weeks, his injury went away. I couldn’t believe that the story could be true, so I experimented and tried it out myself, and along with strength training, bathing and icing, and proper nutrition, the pain went away in two weeks! This is an incredibly short amount of time to have ITB syndrome, as the injury normally lasts from four-to-eight weeks, depending on the severity!
The Three Exercises Were: (all demonstrated in the video)
- Figure Four Variation – 30 secs
- Wall Stretch – 30 secs
- Pull knee over Stretch – 30 secs (pictured right and certainly the most effective!)
Aside from stretching, I would also roll. I did not own a roller, and since I had just recently moved to England (before quarantine), it was the perfect time to buy one. Here is the roller I bought: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Starwood-Sports-Unisexs-Massage-Trigger-Therapy-Myofascial/dp/B07W9KR37C/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=star+sport+foam+roller&qid=1592687000&s=fitness&sr=1-5
It is a good price, and it has both a spiky and flat surface for really targeting the tougher muscles. It came in around three days, and I used it for the first time that night. I had never rolled before and didn’t know how so I looked up a tutorial online and found the Adidas rolling video: https://www.self.com/gallery/best-stretches-for-knee-pain Currently, it is the best rolling video I have found, with great explanations and limited talking, but feel free to use any of your favourite videos to follow!
The first time I rolled, it was honestly one of the most painful experiences ever. The video requires you to roll out each muscle for around 30 seconds-1 minute, and then hold the muscle on the roller for 30 seconds. I had honestly never experienced pain like it! But, I knew it would help my recovery, and I hoped it would get easier with time. I also rolled out my TFL and glutes with a dog ball or hard tennis ball to try to loosen out the sturdier muscles. More information on the TFL is linked here: http://www.clinic88.com.au/articles/tensor-fascia-lata-and-the-itb/ Prior to my injury, I had no idea what the TFL muscle was, so it is very important to keep learning about our bodies!
I kept a consistent timetable for the next three weeks, rolling and stretching both in the morning before my strength workout (9am), and in the evening before dinner (5:30pm). Keeping this strict timetable made sure that I remembered to stretch, because honestly, I truly believe that stretching and rolling are more important than any other physical activity in regards to injury.
Thankfully, the rolling got easier and easier, and now I don’t even need to watch the video because I have learnt all the exercises by heart. Consistency is so so vital to any process in life, along with patience. I have certainly learnt the meaning of those words in the past few months!
Consistency is shown below: in the left photo, I had been running for one year and in the right photo I had been running for two years. You can see the change in my form after only one extra year of training; one year can change everything!
Once I started training again after the six weeks, I noticed that I would get niggles in different areas of my knee joints. I wasn’t sure whether this was normal after an injury or not, but I decided that I had focused so much time on my IT band, that I needed to dedicate the same amount of time to the other areas of my knee.
After researching online again, I found these 7 stretches which I would do every morning before my run, and every evening before dinner. These made a huge difference to my recovery and made sure that I didn’t have any niggles on my next run: https://www.self.com/gallery/best-stretches-for-knee-pain
Stretching, rolling, and overall recovery are honestly so important in overcoming your injury. Make sure to ask your physio if you are able to stretch or if it will make the injury worse. For my tendonitis, it was best not to stretch because it aggravated the tendon, but for ITB, I really needed to work on my knee mobility and quad and hamstring flexibility. So the lesson learnt is to focus on recovery with the same amount of drive and passion we use for running! Create a consistent timetable so that you always remember to stretch twice a day both during and after your injury process!
Lots of love,