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Around 6 weeks ago I started to get pain in my IT band. I tried resting with stretching for 2 weeks almost immediately after the injury, and the problem has persisted.

Currently I'm swimming 3 times a week, occasionally cycling and trying to get running again. I have been trying to stretch before and after workouts and this seems to help relieve the pain at first, however it is noticable (if not very bad) after 2/3km and painful at 5.

My question is are there negative consequences to training with the injury? ie, if i continue to run, with lots of stretching, am i going to gradually lengthen/loosen the IT band, or am i just going to make the problem worse?

In addition to specifically running, should I still cycle and swim, Help!

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    If you haven't already, you should probably be posing your questions to a physical therapist or medical professional. – rrirower Oct 18 '16 at 18:25
  • Agree with rriower. Stretching may not be the key. You may need to strengthen weak muscles. Your therapist can help you identify the cause. – BackInShapeBuddy Oct 18 '16 at 19:53
  • Depending on the cause, IT band issues can be made worse by stretching. I once had chronic IT issues from breaststroke and looseness of that ligament, although I couldn't even toutch my toes. Go to a sports medicine doctor. – Peter DeWeese Oct 19 '16 at 5:17
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IT band 'tightness' is a bit of a misnomer. Your IT band doesn't actually tighten up. What does happen is one of 2 bursa (lateral hip or lateral knee) which lie under the band become inflamed by the friction of the IT band rubbing over them in an abnormal manner.

Normally when running if you have weak gluts / over pronated forefoot (or both) your knee will drift inwards. This places the IT on tension, which then causes friction when moving over the bursa.

A nice test is to see if you can single leg squat while keeping your knee facing forwards and not dive inwards.

Overall its a biomechanics issue which you need to find out the reason(s) for. I recommend you see a Physical Therapist / Physiotherapist (depending if your are US or elsewhere!)

Note: stretching the IT won't work as it won't actually stretch, only the connections to it. However these will tighten up if the biomechanics aren't addressed.

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To post an answer from my experience (a year and a half later), I found the effects of slowly building up my running distance after the injury to really help recovery.

This was supported by:

  • Use of a foam roller
  • Streching and Yoga
  • Massage with arnica gel
  • not doing too much too soon
  • I've also found compression support quite useful, I'm testing upper leg compression bands currently. If anyone is interested, comment below and I'll give you an update as to my personal experiences in a few weeks.
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  • I'm glad you are recovering. How do the compression socks help, considering they don't cover any of the IT band? Also, (while this is late), I had IT band issues related to worn out shoes in college x-country. I would look at how much you change your shoes out as well. – JohnP Jul 2 '18 at 20:03
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Whenever mine flares up, I stop running and start doing about 4-6 weeks worth of low bar squats. I increase the weight each time.

As far as negative consequences... It hurts like hell but I’ve never actually suffered or heard of someone doing permanent damage. That’s entirely anecdotal though!

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