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Thread: Help with IT Band Syndrome

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    Vienna, VA
    Posts
    92

    Default Help with IT Band Syndrome

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    I am 95% positive I am suffering from IT band syndrome in my right leg. It began as discomfort in the hip and knee, with soreness running through my thigh, essentially connecting the pain centers. It has progressively worsened the past few weeks. I have been training through it, and at first it was during training that it felt best (esp. during squats). (It usually hurts most when first getting up out of bed or from sitting; but walking -- which seemed to help at first -- has grown increasingly painful over the past week.) But yesterday it hurt throughout my full squat session, and my top set at 320# was much more of a grind than it should have been. (It hurts during OH press, too, and it effects my leg drive during bench.

    I had squatted 365# for reps as recently at February 18. I then took it easy for a few weeks as my workout partner (my 17 year old son) was mostly out during varsity baseball tryouts and the start of that aborted season. I then started back into everything at lower weights as I've started the Old Man Texas Method program recently.

    Age: 46, male
    PRs (all set in late Jan / early Feb):
    • Squat: 365x3
    • Bench: 277x3; 279x2
    • Press: 167x3
    • DL: 425x5; 430x3

    Most recent week: Old Man Texas Method - bench focus
    Mon, 03/23/20
    • Squat - 3x5@90% Fri. -- 287
    • Bench - 3x5@90% Fri. -- 225
    • DL - 1x5 -- 420

    Wed, 03/25/20
    • Squat - 2x5@80% Mon. -- 230
    • Press - 5x5 -- 135
    • Chins 4x5-10 -- BWx6x3;5x1

    Fri, 03/27/20
    • Squat - 1x5 -- 320
    • Bench - 1x5; 3x5@85% -- 250; 215
    • DL - 3x5@85% Mon. -- 357
    One other piece of info: Prior to the apparent flare-up of my IT band, I had been dealing with plantar fasciitis on the same side. To alleviate this, I started wearing compression foot sleeves throughout the day since the March 1, and very shortly after started using custom Dr. Scholl's inserts (as determined by machine at the pharmacy) in my shoes and slippers. I don't wear either while lifting. The IT band issue seemed to begin around this time. But that might just be a coincidence, as I also started back into my training on March 2 after a few easy weeks of just going through the motions at much lower volume than I had been lifting before the break. FWIW, my plantar fasciitis has improved significantly, though not entirely. Then again, the pain from the IT band might be distracting from the foot pain ...

    Here is my question, please: What should I do to alleviate and eventually get over the IT band issue?

    My understanding from searching the forums here is that IT band release is probably best, but I don't think I will be able to get one scheduled due to the COVID-19 shutdowns. Foam or ball rolling seems more a miss than hit from what I've read. Should I alter programming in terms of either intensity or volume of squat and/or DL? Would a thigh compression sleeve help? (I don't have one yet.) Is there a way t use a TENS muscle stimulator unit that might help? (I do have one of these somewhere.) Any other suggestions?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Long Island, NY
    Posts
    1,110

    Default

    First thing is to change the mindset from alleviating to managing. The paradox with most aches and pains of this flavor (both IT band and PF) is that they seem to go away much faster when we stop fixating on getting to zero pain and start focusing on doing what we want to do and managing it during that process.

    Has there been any new stressors in your life or have stressors that have been present recently become unmanageable (alot of people have been completely screwed by COVID19 related changes)? Do any other intentional physical activity besides lifting (like running)? What seems to flare it up the most (squats, deadlifts, just walking around, something else entirely)? How many hours of sleep are you getting each night?

    This is how I would alter your programming right now: Reduce Monday's squat to 260 x 5 reps x 3 sets, Wednesdays keep at 230, and for Friday go to 290x3x2. For deadlift on Monday go to 395x3x2 and on Friday go to 345x5x3. Start progressing 5lbs a week from there on both.

    I do not think the TENS will help. I also do not think it's a bad idea to give the foam roller a shot for a few days especially if you already own one. If it feels like it helps keep doing it. If it feels like it's not helping stop doing it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    Vienna, VA
    Posts
    92

    Default

    Thank you for your response and advice, Nick. Much appreciated.

    In response to your questions: I'm sure the COVID-19 crisis and the already and sure-to-grow much worse economic fallout has caused some stress, but I think I'm pretty resilient psychologically to this type of thing. As far as impacts on me, my job is thankfully secure, and I have worked remote from home in our virtual office for over 13 years, so my day-to-day living hasn't changed dramatically. Kids are home from school full time, but that hasn't been a big deal, and they are handling it well. In general, I think I have a fairly high pain threshold. I can certainly manage living with some pain, which is why I was trying to train through it. But the pain has become much sharper and more chronic these past few days, making walking and esp. climbing stairs quite painful affairs. Hence, my post here today.

    Walking has been getting increasingly difficult, and I definitely walked a lot more this past week. So that could be a trigger for it getting worse. My theory in walking more was to get more blood flow in my legs to hopefully aid healing or at least loosening up of the IT band, esp. as it had seemed to be worse after periods of inactivity (e.gs. sleeping, or sitting at desk for long periods). My theory may have backfired. I get roughly roughly 7 hours of sleep each night, usually getting up 2-3 times to use the restroom. Sleep quality hasn't really changed for better or worse over last few months. Squats, as I said, were unusually painful on Friday, but I think deadlifts generally put more of a strain on my IT band.

    I will definitely change up my programming right away as you suggest. Thanks again, Nick! I'll check in in a week to let you know how things seem to be going.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Long Island, NY
    Posts
    1,110

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    You're welcome! Based on what you wrote above I would cut the walking volume in half and do at least 1 short walk, or just some walking around your house, without the foot inserts. Part of the reason for the recent spike may have to do with the inserts (as you already noted). The inserts have changed the way you are loading your leg as you walk (even if it doesn't feel like it) and shifted the stress around in such a way to off load the PF and load the ITB. This may help manage the small but accumulating loads from walking.

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