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Author Topic: Tight IT Band - Massagers??  (Read 1956 times)

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Offline neuf350z

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Tight IT Band - Massagers??
« on: December 24, 2005, 11:15:00 PM »
Hey all!

Looks like I've got the tightest IT band in the world, according to my PT.  I've tried some stretches and they cause swelling around my knee.  When my PT massages it out it feels sore, due to the deep massage needed, but it feels better.  My tight ITB is the cause of my knee cap maltracking.  So my question...anyone else have this problem and know if there are any home massagers that you can buy that are designed for this?

My tight ITB is slowing my recent LR recovery process so I'm trying to find a way to keep that thing loose.  :(
1st LR surgery 1997 (left) - 2nd LR surgery 1/05 (left) - 3rd LR 11/05 (right)

Offline Kris

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Re: Tight IT Band - Massagers??
« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2005, 03:10:41 AM »
I have had a tight ITBand also.  My old therapist would twist my knee, hip in all directions trying to loosen and stretch it out.  I pulled it once and developed knots all up and down it.  I really have no suggestions, but I know you are not alone with this problem.

Kris
Right  LR on 2/8/02,  7/11/03, and 11/5/05
Left leg LR on 5/02, 4/05
Right achilles tendon lengthened on 2/01.   Synvisc injections on 2/17/03. 
Cortisone on 12/03 and 3/04, 12/05. 
Proximal Reallignment Right 5/23/05
R Microfracture 5/19/06
PFJR 6/20/07

Offline KarenS

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Re: Tight IT Band - Massagers??
« Reply #2 on: December 26, 2005, 01:29:51 PM »
I have this miserable problem also, and I have no idea when it's going to let up. I can't even do the stretches right now, and even the hip strengthening exercises, because they're causing medial knee pain, presumably from the way the ITBS are pulling my kneecaps laterally.

What I've found most effective is acupuncture combined with self cross-friction massage. I can get it pretty loose in both legs, but it's getting it to stay loose when I try to increase my activity that's the issue, and I can't do that without strengthening my legs. So it's a Catch-22 -- I can get it loose with rest and massage, but it won't stay that way without exercise, and even minimal exercise flares it up again. I'm hoping the OS I see tomorrow has some insight. I will try absolutely anything to avoid surgery -- it's not even an option in my mind right now. I'm convinced that surgery causes more problems in the long run.

Do you massage the ITB yourself? I do it several times a day, and I find that it works better than the foam roller, which can't do the cross-friction action (but the foam roller works for a lot of people). The only probem is that the self-massage is killing my neck, shoulders, and upper back (not to mention my hands).  ::)

Also, you have to make sure you massage out ALL the knots. For the longest time, I was working on the straight line that runs from my hips down to my knees, but I'm just now realizing that there are adhesions in my vastus lateralis muscles, too, even at the very top near my groin, and I get that "hurts so good" feeling when I massage certain areas so I know I'm onto something here. I'm wondering if this is part of the reason why I haven't been "staying better." I think that there's scar tissue there that's wreaking havoc with my ITBs. Of course, it would be so nice if someone with an M.D. after their name could've told me this instead of my having to figure it out myself. (Pardon me, I'm rather bitter about this chronic problem today!)
« Last Edit: December 26, 2005, 01:42:31 PM by KarenS »

Offline neuf350z

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Re: Tight IT Band - Massagers??
« Reply #3 on: December 26, 2005, 03:20:25 PM »
Karen - looks like we're in the same boat!  And you're right...sometimes surgery can cause more problems.  I've had two LR's on my left knee and it's still not feeling so good - especially right now where it has to hold all of my weight to compensate for my right.  :(

I've massaged my IT band myself and it feels better, but I've got the same problem where it tightens back up just from simple things as walking around.

I'd like to find something reasonably priced only because each trip to PT costs me $20 and I have to go 2-3 times a week.  :P
1st LR surgery 1997 (left) - 2nd LR surgery 1/05 (left) - 3rd LR 11/05 (right)

Offline KarenS

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Re: Tight IT Band - Massagers??
« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2005, 09:21:14 PM »
Why do you have to go to PT so often? Couldn't you tell them that it's running into too much money, so you can cut back to once or twice a week? Do you do a home exercise program? Are you doing hip strengthening exercises to take the load off your ITB? You don't want your left one to flare up where that leg is taking the load off the right.

I had an LR on both knees 12-13 years ago, and I swear that's why I'm having ITB problems now. My non-medical, unprofessional opinion of my situation is that the scar tissue from the surgeries got damaged when I was working out at the gym, and there's scar tissue attached to my ITB and inhibiting my quads that needs to be broken up. That's certainly what it feels like, and it seems that my ITBs have really started to loosen up since I started working on these knots.

Anyway, hang in there, and feel freel to vent away! I certainly know how frustrating this is, and I also know all about the LR recovery process. :)

Offline neuf350z

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Re: Tight IT Band - Massagers??
« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2005, 09:33:12 PM »
I'm at PT 2-3 times a week in order to help me control the swelling I've got through electric stim.  I have an exercise program to do at home, which I struggle with because my quad won't fire - another reason I need to go to PT.

My first LR took a while so I shouldn't be surprised, but I think it was so long ago I think I tend to forget the details and become frustrated.  My 2nd LR only took a month to get back on track and I did very well, but I don't think it worked because I still have pain under my knee cap.  IT band problems on that side too.

It definitely is frustrating because I'm 34 and feel like I'm in my 70's in terms of mobility.  I often think about what I'll have to deal with as I get older if what I'm currently dealing with is any indication of my fate.

Thanks for the support!!!
1st LR surgery 1997 (left) - 2nd LR surgery 1/05 (left) - 3rd LR 11/05 (right)

Offline KarenS

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Re: Tight IT Band - Massagers??
« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2005, 10:08:02 PM »
Oh, I didn't even think of the swelling problem -- I just noticed that your recent surgery wasn't that long ago. It's been so long since my LRs, I forgot that it takes awhile to knock the swelling down. I remember my right knee, which was the one with the more severely tipped kneecap, swelled up like a balloon and took quite awhile to get back to normal. I had a much easier time with the recovery for my left LR.

Are they doing any taping at PT? I know that I'm dealing with a different situation than you right now, but recently I couldn't get my VMO to fire when I tried to extend my leg (hurt like heck, too!) until the therapist taped my knee (the swelling was pushing it up and out), and then I could kick again -- almost pain-free. It was like magic! It also really helped with going up and down stairs. The muscle really "forgets" to fire when you have a lot of pain and swelling, especially when it's been going on for awhile.

I know, I've had the same thoughts about when I get older. It's hard not to think like that when it's so hard to get around and do what you have to do each day. But hopefully once all of this is sorted out, we will go back to leading normal lives. I've been told that keeping the quads strong and avoiding obviously stressful activity can ward off any big knee surgeries down the road. I'm also hoping that if I have knee problems later in life (which I most likely will, but hopefully they won't be THIS debilitating!), technology will be so advanced that I can avoid a TKR. I don't even want to think about that, though. As my mother always says, "Just worry about today. You could get hit by a bus tomorrow." LOL! (She cracks me up when she says that, but there's really some truth there!)

« Last Edit: December 26, 2005, 10:11:26 PM by KarenS »

Offline neuf350z

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Re: Tight IT Band - Massagers??
« Reply #7 on: December 26, 2005, 10:26:17 PM »
Nope, never been taped - that's an interesting option!  I can lift my leg up with a towel tucked under my knee but it's not completely straight and locked and I can hold it for all of about 5 seconds.

Even though I've been off my feet all day today and have had my leg elevated, it's stiff and semi-swollen.  I feel like I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't.

Ever try a product called Biofreeze?  A friend gave me some to use and it helped with massaging my IT band.  It leaves a soothing warm feeling but for me it doesn't last long enough.

Back to work tomorrow and hopefully I'll be able to keep myself from walking around too much and causing more swelling.  It's tough when the fax machine, copy machine and mailboxes are on the other side of the office.
1st LR surgery 1997 (left) - 2nd LR surgery 1/05 (left) - 3rd LR 11/05 (right)

Offline KarenS

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Re: Tight IT Band - Massagers??
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2005, 12:00:36 AM »
I did use Biofreeze a long time ago for a problem I was having with my shoulder. I remember that it felt really good, but didn't last, like you said. I'm trying not to do anything that really masks the pain from the ITBS, though, because I find that I really have to reduce my activity and do the massage quite a bit when I get that tight, sore feeling. If I don't get it under control, then the cartilage in my knees gets irritated from the way the ITBs pull on my kneecaps...and that is such a lousy feeling, which takes a couple of weeks to settle down. I don't need anymore setbacks!

 And try not to worry too much about the swelling taking awhile to go down. Your knee was really traumatized, and it hasn't been that long since your surgery. You'll get there! Just try to take it easy at work, don't do more walking than you think you can handle, and elevate your legs as much as possible. (And that's my pep talk for the day. ;) )
« Last Edit: December 27, 2005, 12:03:32 AM by KarenS »















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