Category Archives: Medical

My IT Band Hurts. Fix it.

By Captain Vitalyte

The IT Band, formally known as the Illiotibial band, and the issues associated with it are no stranger to most runners. In chatting with running friends lately though, it seems that many people either don’t know: 1. what it is or 2. how to fix it.

So what is the IT band?

The IT band begins in the hip as the tensor fascia latae muscle and has attachments at the origin from three different muscles: the gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, and vastus lateralis. The muscle becomes a fibrous band of tissue as it progresses down the thigh, then crosses the knee joint, and inserts along the outside portion of the patella, or knee cap, and into the shin bone.

For me, IT band pain doesn’t feel like muscle pain. It seethes deep inside the bone, or at least it feels like it does, &  reverberates throughout the leg with impact, spanning from my outer knee to my upper glut. Sounds fun right? Yea, it’s not. It’s especially unfun when you’re training for a distance run and this fiery pain prevents you from reaching your goals, training or really doing much of anything.

The standard advice for athletes facing this persistent problem is, you guessed it, the dreaded foam roller. It’s my vice and yours. It hurts- and not in a good way but it is indeed one of the best ways to deep condition the muscles in your IT area, to loosen up for the love of god. IT band pain is an injury of progression and by that I mean if you don’t cool it, it’s gonna get worse. That being said, be smart about your pain. Listen to your body and fix the problem before it escalates.

Simply put there are 3 phases of recovery for IT band issues:

1. Stop Running
2. Start Stretching/Foam Rolling. Then move to ice and gradually, side leg lifts with exercise bands are recommended.
3. When you’re feeling better, move onto non/low impact exercise (try spinning, yoga or the elliptical). When running is back on the table, run quickly for short periods of time as that tends to aggravate the band less than slow, distance running.

bigstockphoto_man_running_390212s600x600

Water Love. More Great Reasons to Get Your H20!

I grew up in Seattle so it’s safe to say, I know a lot about water. It’s everywhere up there. There are two lakes surrounding the city, a vast Sound that it’s nestled in, and plenty of rivers and streams to keep all the fishermen in the Pacific Northwest happy. And the rain. Oh the rain. It seems to remind native Seattleites everyday of its existence. Ok, maybe not that often but quite a bit. Now I live in sunny Southern California. And I find I hardly get enough water in my life. My skin is constantly dry, my eyes are constantly searching for tears. So this has all led me to do some thinking about the importance of good ol’ H2O in our lives. We all know that water and hydration are essential to proper functioning, but did you know about these other benefits?

For one, if you’re not properly hydrated you will most likely feel fatigued. A lack of water forces your brain to work harder than it otherwise would to perform the same tasks. Wonder why you have that splitting headache? It could be because you haven’t had enough water. Cells need water to function. So, don’t starve them!

Now this next little tidbit of hydration information particularly caught my interest. I don’t know about you, but I definitely don’t get enough dairy everyday. As a mildly lactose-intolerant individual, I cannot go near milk, limit my cheese intake, and only have yogurt on special occasions. So, one thing I worry about is getting enough calcium in my diet. I definitely don’t want my bones to start decaying someday. Well, drinking mineral water may help to up your calcium intake and prevent bone loss. There we go. Crisis averted.

Here’s another little doozy that I just love. Drinking cold water (around 37.4 degrees) can help to increase caloric expenditure for about an hour after you drink it. The cooler water forces your body to work harder to maintain its internal temperature. Translation – you burn more calories. Also, having a glass of water before you eat can help to curb your appetite so you eat less.

So there you have it. A few cool reasons why you need to stay hydrated!