Monday, 9 September 2013

Dear Body

I'm writing to you to provide some clarity on why you and I haven’t been running together for six days.

It hasn’t been easy and I’ve missed it just as much as I’m sure you have, but unfortunately, dear body, this time it’s both of our faults. You can’t just put it down to me being lazy.

You see, the crux of the problem is the hip. Or more specifically, the ITB: iliotibial band. For years now, ITB, you and I have had a real love hate relationship. In recent days, however, it’s been more the latter than the former. I think this time we’ve really taken it too far.

ITB, who also goes by the alias of Maissiat's band, is a longitudinal fibrous reinforcement of the fascia lata. To me and you that means a fibrous bit of tissue that extends from your hip to the outside of your knee, helping to stabilise, flex, abduct and rotate – all the things we do when we run.

Usually, ITB, hip and all work in perfect harmony, but when we run on uneven surfaces, with worn out shoes or poor posture, ITB can become squeezed, trapped or irritated and inflamed and that, dear body, is what you and I have caused.

Now, when we sit for long period of time, ITB starts to complain. Do you remember yesterday, when we were sitting in the car, ITB started to cramp up so much that we were both convinced it was about to snap? I had to contort you, dear body, into such an odd position in the passenger seat, just to be able to stretch ITB at least a little bit?

Do you remember when we finally got up after sitting for three yours, ITB basically gave way, causing us to limp across the car park like and arthritic octogenarian?

So what now? You may ask. Unfortunately, dear body, you and I will have to refrain from running for at least a few more days - if not weeks.

We may swim a bit or cycle, but running is a no-go. One thing we will be doing is using the foam roller to loosen up ITB and relieve some of the strain on knee and hip. Perhaps we’ll treat ourselves to a massage or get some physiotherapy if things don’t improve but most importantly, we have to indulge in lots and lots of rest.

I know, dear body, that both you and I don’t like that idea. I know that we both feel best when we’re rhythmically pounding along the streets, light-footed and painless, but unfortunately injury is a hurdle every athlete needs to master at some point.  

One good thing is that we have got some new running shoes with good support that’s adapted to our pronation meaning that when ITB has recovered, there is less chance of him becoming irritated again. Let’s just give him some time, some distance and plenty of TLC. After all, he has had to deal with a lot of stress over the last few months.

Thanks for understanding.

Kind regards,


PS: Runner’s World has a great article and video about ITB syndrome. Perhaps that will help you understand why things have to be the way they are.

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