Friday, March 29, 2013

IT Band Injury: The Plan and Dry Needling

IT Band Injury and Treatment

Since December I have been suffering from an IT Band injury on my right leg. I injured myself in a 7.5 mile race and compounded the injury by wearing heels all night on a date. Since December, I have been to a chiropractor, physical therapist, general physician, orthopedic surgeon and a second physical therapist. 

Here is a general timeline of my injury:


In December, I limped around and felt sorry for myself. I tried to run just about every day but within a couple steps I would be in pain. I felt a lot of tightness in my right knee and it hurt to walk. I was seeing a chiropractor for a previous injury and though he tried to help, it wasn't really the right doctor. Towards the end of December I purchased a foam roller and started rolling.


In January, I started to come to terms with the fact that something was kind of wrong. I made an appointment with a physical therapist after I had been injured for a full month. This physical therapist combined massage with strength training. I saw this physical therapist for 3 weeks but didn't feel a connection or an improvement. I am kind of a type A person and really need a timeline. Since I didn't have pain when I walked he told me I could run. Unfortunately, I pushed myself to run longer than I should have, after a mile I was really limping and foam rolling felt like torture. 


In February, I finally went to a doctor. I went because after pushing myself to run the leg pain was pretty persistent. My doctor told me that she was concerned that I might have a torn meniscuses. I was referred to an orthopedic surgeon who asked me to get an MRI. From the MRI, they diagnosed me with ITBS, basically inflammation of the Iliotibial Band. 

My doctor prescribed physical therapy, and a topical cream to aid in inflammation. He said that he would like the Physical Therapist to try a technique called dry needling and if my injury still persisted he would like to inject cortisone into my IT Band, worst case scenario would be surgery. 


In late March (I know really late March), I finally stopped feeling sorry for myself and made an appointment with the physical therapist recommended by my orthopedic surgeon. My first appointment was Monday and I felt like it went really well! My PT was very optimistic that she could help me treat the injury. She had me do a lot of different exercises that concentrated on strengthening my butt and hips ( I will take pictures of the exercises later). My PT told me that in two months she thinks I should be up and running. Unfortunately, she thinks I need different shoes

So I should be training by JUNE!!! 

So Let's Talk about Dry Needling

I think of dry needling as aggressive acupuncture. Best way I can think to describe it. Here is a full description of dry needling, you can also youtube it but if you're not into the needle thing I would pass.

Basically, they take a small needle and stick it in a muscle pressure point, then wiggle it around.

First of all, I swear I'm wearing pants. Here she is trying to release pressure in my calf. Once the PT puts the needle in they move it around making the muscle twitch/clench/freak out.

After killing me with my calf, she started working on my knee and IT area. 

So here's the deal, I'm not going to lie to you and say it doesn't hurt. You don't feel the needle go in but you feel it moving around. Some areas hurt worse than others. My calf was the worst. It feels like a really intense Charlie Horse. My PT office is one big open room and people were definitely looking at me because I was screaming  protesting loudly. The pain wasn't scream worthy but uncomfortable and I did cry. I am telling you this because I read some blogs and they described the pain as "uncomfortable" "weird feeling" "pleasant". Let's just say I wasn't prepared. 

Here's what my leg looked like after she was done, I wanted to show you so you weren't picturing blood or anything. 

My leg is still sore, it feels like muscle soreness but this technique is to promote blood flow and healing in the injured area. 

Since working out helped alleviate the soreness, I was able to do the Best Body Bootcamp Round 5 fitness test today. 

Here was the view from my elliptical.

Yeah, my gym has amazing views. 

And since it's PIZZA FRIDAY, here's a glimpse of our dinner: Butternut squash pizza with feta cheese and green beans and asparagus.

Questions of the Day:

Ever tried Physical Therapy?

Have you ever had IT Band issues?


  1. I had an IT band last year from about 3 months around the end of November - March. It was terrible. I couldn't really run very much at all during those 3 months, but I didn't want to not exercise. When I definitely knew something was wrong, I really didn't run much. I'd try and exercise through walking a little bit (but that could hurt too), interval cardio exercises, the elliptical when I could, and weights. It was definitely challenging! Plus, my poor running buddy had to wait for me to recuperate!
    FInally after the 3 months of "taking it easy" on the IT band and some stretching on my own, the leg eventually began to feel better. So, I just gradually eased into running again and "listened" if my leg was bothering me.
    I could still "feel" it just a teeny tiny bit for about a year. I went to get a deep tissue massage with an amazing therapist and when she got to my leg, she said, "Uh oh, what happened here?" She could tell I had had a prior injury and worked out some scar tissue (ouch!) that was causing that remaining tinge of discomfort. Ever since. no pain whatsoever. Good luck in your IT band recovery. It is frustrating, but you will recover! Just take it easy.

    1. Massage sounds amazing! I'm so glad you're doing better. I think it will all work out :)


  2. It is very nice that your disease has finished. But the using of needles for the treatment seems me so painful method of treatment.
    physical therapy in bergen county