Friday, August 3, 2012

It's almost 3 weeks since I got a steroid injection into my left knee. This was suppose to take care of my ITB problems. It' didn't. In fact for a week after I felt worse. My entire knee hurt. It wasn't the relief I was looking for, so I finally conceded and stopped running (for the most part). I did the elliptical a couple of times and ran on the weekend. I just crossed my fingers and hoped that I would be ready for my race (recap coming soon). I actually did kind of well. My knee was fine but my lungs were screaming!! But only two days later I couldn't even go two miles without it acting up. Ugh!

So I made another appointment to see my PT, Dave. He suggested that maybe changing my running gait would alleviate the repetitive rubbing of my distal IT Band against my lateral femoral condyle. Here is a quick anatomy/biomechanics lesson...The IT Band crosses over the lateral femoral condyle at about 30* of knee flexion. As a heel striker I am repetitively rubbing that ITB back and forth against the bone as my knee flexes and extends. Think match stick and sand paper. At a cadence of 170 foot strikes (or in my case heel strikes) per minute, multiplied by the 111 minutes it took me to run a half marathon, that equals, well a lot of FRICTION! Eventually there is going to be a flare up!

The thought is to get me to be more of a forefoot striker and get my point of contact more under me, instead of way out in front. By bringing my feet under me and landing on the ball of my foot with a slightly flexed knee, this will eliminate the amount time my IT Band spends rubbing back and forth across the bone, thus relieving the friction and my pain.

I know this is crazy, but I never fancied myself as a heel striker. I dont' know why, every picture I have from races including, my profile pic have me heel striking. See how far out in front of me my foot is. My ankle is flexed, my knee is fully extended (past that 30* point) and I am about to land on my heel. OUCH!

It's amazing I have lasted this long with out getting a stress fracture.

Who knew running had to be so complicated. You would think that it should just be natural and something that everyone can do, like breathing. Apparently that is incorrect thinking. I don't live entirely under a rock. I have read Born to Run. I understand the thought process behind the whole minimalist running movement. Heck, I even have a pair of NB Minumus'. But I didn't get how horrible my gate was until it was broken down for me.

The picture on the left is me in April when all this nonsense was just beginning. And the girl in blue with a slightly better tan and way better running form is me today. My PT put me through some drills and I ended up looking like this....

Can you see the difference?

On the left my knee is much straighter then on the right and I am getting ready to land on my heel. Bad, very bad.

On the right I am actually in the air, my foot is plantarflexed and I am getting ready to hit the ground with flexed knee and on the ball of my foot.

It felt great. I wasn't running for long, but I could tell the difference anyway! I am so excited to implement this into my routine.  Wish me luck!


  1. How did you change your gait? I actually ran barefoot for a while and in vibrams to correct my form. Now, I only run in minimal shoes. That being said, I have been out for 3 months due to an IT band issue . . . totally differnt cause, but IT band issue just the same. I cannot get past 2.5 miles without pain.

    Hope yours gets better soon!

    1. I'm still trying to change it. The PT put me through some drills, running in place, running backward and trying to relax my ankles instead of flexing my foot. I tried two miles today and it felt ok. Not like yesterday, my didnt' really hurt when I was running except a couple of times I could feel myself getting lazy and going back to my old form. Then it felt like a hot poker was in stabbing me. It is going to take a lot of practice to get get used to this.

  2. Looks really good, I watched the video too! I used to heel strike (I also had no idea) and ended up with bad shin splints. Now I practice Chirunning. It took a while to "get" it and change my terrible ways, lol, but it was so worth it.

    1. I need to pick up that book. I can tell it's going to take a while to get it. How long before you felt normal running like that? I was so winded.

  3. Courtney love your blog! I can relate with knee and hip pain. Good luck with the process!!!!