Hey whats up guys? It's James with Pioneer PT, and I wanted to talk with you today about self release. Specifically for cyclists and runners. Both involve a lot of repetitive stress. For cyclists revolutions per minute (RPM) are about 60-80 revolutions, runners you hit the ground 80-100 times per minute when you are running, and all that repetitive stress can lead to patellofemoral pain or IT band syndrome.
Lets go over how to self release properly. We are going to start with a foam roll. Foam rolling is one of the most common methods for self release. For self releasing with a foam roll you want to target more on the muscle. You do not want to hit the IT band itself. The IT band itself is about the consistency of a leather belt. It is very hard connective tissue that runs down the side of your leg and attaches to the lateral (outer) portion of your knee. Instead, try to focus on your lateral quad. (outer thigh), and your gluts. Specifically your TFL (tensor fascia lata).
Many of you have seen, the foam roll here, you cross your upper leg on top and roll that back and forth. Target at the top of the hip first. Specifically more towards that front half, so you can hit that TFL, which is the muscular portion that leads into the IT band. You can make a much bigger difference on the muscle than you can on the tendon. As you go down focus more on the front part of your leg on the quads, on that lateral (outer) aspect. Back and forth there, if you find a specific spot that is tender. Hold pressure to it. Hold it until you feel it release. It may be a minute, 90 seconds, or even a few minutes. To target that a little bit better, I prefer a lacrosse ball. A lacrosse ball is much more specific and you can hit those "knots" better. So you can start in the gluts again here, right around the hip. Don't go directly over the bone, but you want to go adjacent to it. Find those "knots" in the side of the hip. They are often a little bit more to the front. That will be the TFL that leads into the IT band. When you find an area of tension, hold pressure to it until you feel it relax. You can also target down by the knee. Try to get more quad (thigh). Again, hold until you feel it release.
And that is it for self release today. Please remember target your lateral quad and the outside of your hip. If you continue to have these symptoms and you cannot maintain a healthy leg, come see your physical therapist. We can target specific strengthening exercises that will prevent that from happening again in the future. Take care, bye bye.
Congratulations and special shout out to everyone who participated in the Baltimore Running Festival! It is marathon season and you have just completed 26.2 miles! It is a lifetime achievement to be proud of and something that not many people can dream of accomplishing. The amount of preparation, hard work, and determination it takes to complete a marathon has paid off.
But now what? More than likely you never trained for the whole 26.2 miles, but rather only about 20 miles for your longest run and then relied on adrenaline and determination to get you to the finish line. By that 20 mile marker you could start to feel it deep in your muscles and joints. Asymmetries are bound to form as one calf tightens, you start to cramp in a hamstring, or your IT band becomes irritated as you push your body to its limits to reach the finish line. The soreness is from over-stressed muscles, which have caused micro tears within the muscle. Don't worry, this is a normal occurrence and your body will work to rebuild and become stronger. It does not change the fact that you may be sore.
Initially a hot/cold alternating shower to improve circulation, then refueling your body with proper fluids and protein should be taken into consideration. Starting the second day, a combination of rest with non-stressful movements to promote blood flow to sore muscles will be important to decrease tension. Try an easy walk, swim, stretching routine, or easy yin style yoga. You hope these areas of tension go away on their own with rest, but they often hang around feeling restrictions even with daily activities. After the initial rest period when you begin back training these muscle imbalances can hinder your body from performing at its peak ability and can lead to more serious injury.
It is advised that you follow up with a knowledgable physical therapist who can work these imbalances out through deep tissue work or even myofascial decompression. They will also teach you strengthening exercises to improve your running form by targeting the specific areas of weakness that lack the necessary endurance for such a long distance. If treated early you will often only need 2-3 sessions to get back to your baseline, plus you will have greater knowledge to maintain your body in the future. This is all at a relatively low cost considering registration fees, running shoes, hotel room, and your desire to continue your lifestyle in a worry free manner.
Pioneer PT has the ability to come directly to you via a mobile clinic and provide one-on-one care with a doctor of physical therapy for a full hour. Service is direct care meaning you will not need to waste crucial time going to your doctor or a specialist for a prescription. Pioneer PT is your musculoskeletal expert and direct point of access for heath related needs.
James Dulkerian, DPT
Active outdoorsman with an honest soul and a passion for health.