September 2013

phit in park


So this is what's going on with me this month?  I am currently training for a running race at the end of September. I've been a runner for about 3 years (ever since I started to get a little thick around the middle) and I've never had an injury before. Unfortunately, the last race I ran was all downhill and now my IT (iliotibial band) hurts when I run.  I tried rest and ice and my IT band feels better but the pain comes back after a few miles of running. Because I really want to run the race (I already paid the money and planned the trip) and I don't want to end up with a chronic injury, I decided to talk with Gail Molloy* to see if she could help me.  


Phit: Why does my IT band hurt? 

Gail the PT: The iliotibial (IT) band is a group of muscle fibers that runs along the outside of the thigh, from the hip to the knee. The IT band functions as a stabilizer during running. When there is a problem, the pain presents itself on the outside of the knee or leg. The 6 reasons for IT band pain are: joint stiffness (hip, spine, foot/ankle), overuse (usually increasing the distances), tight tissue, weak hip muscles, poor running form, and/or shoe/orthotic issues.   


Phit: I've been resting and icing my outer knee but I have still have pain. What should I do next?

Gail the PT: Ice and rest are a good start. But, since you want to run in your race, I suggest physical therapy to address any biomechanical (joint and soft tissue) faults or restrictions that are creating the "rubbing" of the IT band, because the inflammation won't decrease unless the source or cause is determined. I'd start with evaluation to determine the underlying cause of the problem and look at the joint interaction between the legs/feet and pelvis/spine, the muscle strength and flexibility, balance and loading ability on the legs, and walking/running. Almost every runner in pain has some biomechanical faults that can be treated with Manual Therapy (joint and soft tissue mobilization/manipulation, neural glides) that are the underlying cause of breakdown at the soft tissue or joints. For treatment, I would likely focus on motor control exercises specific for you, stretching and soft tissue work, possibly trigger point dry needling and manual therapy. Ultrasound and iontophoresis may also be used if there is a localized inflammation. Occasionally, shoe orthotics may be useful. 



Phit: Do you think I am crazy for wanting to run this race so soon?

Gail the PT: I understand your desire to finish the goal you set for yourself. I even admire it. It is extremely difficult to permanently damage your IT band but you may be doing damage to other parts of your body as you compensate for your IT band pain.  An evaluation is the best place to start. If we know the problem, we can determine if we can get you back on track quickly and get you ready for your race.

*Gail is a co-owner of PTIS and has been a PT since 1984. Currently, Gail is also teaching nationally on lower extremity pain in the running athlete and is traveling to Chicago in mid-September. She consults with the American distance program and has treated all levels of runners and all ages. To learn more about Gail Molloy


Set up an appointment today to get your "run" on.

30 Days to be a Runner

Have you ever wanted to start running but don't know how to start?  Here is an easy 30-day guide to help you get started. Give it a try and let us know how it worked for you.  Click here for the calendar.

Weekly Classes For Your Health

Tai Chi Class - Every Monday at 5:00 pm 
Balance Class* - Every Monday at 1:00 pm 
TRX Class - Time and day coming soon
Fee: $15 per class.*Balance class has an extra $20 fee for the initial PT evaluation. 
Staff Birthdays This Month
Wendy Hildreth September 16th
Brenda de St. Simon September 28th

Jenn Berry
Jenn Berry, PT, DPT, OCS
1. How did you end up in Colorado? I grew up in California and moved to Colorado to attend the University of Colorado, Boulder for college and to spend more time skiing. There I fell in love with everything Colorado has to offer and spent my free time running, skiing, mountain biking, hiking 14ers, and racing triathlons. After my husband and I got married in 2006, we settled in Denver where I attended physical therapy school at Regis University.  
2. Do you like to travel? Through my education in health care, I have grown passionate about global health and have traveled to Ethiopia and Haiti to provide PT care in a variety of different settings.  
3. What other physical therapy related activities do you do? I am also involved in advocating for the profession of physical therapy through involvement in government affairs and public relations and marketing for the Colorado chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association.  
4. What do you do for fun? I absolutely love to run and am currently training for my third marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon in October.  My husband and I currently live in the Highlands with our rescue dog, Sydney. 

Bodyweight Squats

Stand with your feet hip distance apart with your toes facing forward. Sit back like you are sitting in a chair behind you without allowing your knees to drift beyond your toes. Sit back until you feel your glutes, quads and hamstrings engage (about a 90 degree angle in your knees) and come back up to standing. Complete eight to 12 repetitions, adding weight when this becomes easy.


Squats hit a lot of running-specific muscles, don't require any equipment, and can easily be added to your post-run routine.  Pair that with some lunges and you will likely be sore the next day.

Chocolate Espresso Smoothie choc espresso smoothie



8 ounces chocolate yogurt, such as Brown Cow "Cream Top"
1 large banana (browned and frozen)*
2 shots espresso, chilled 
2 cups ice (about 14 ice cubes)
1 dozen chocolate-covered espresso beans



Place half of the yogurt plus all of the remaining ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth. Add remaining yogurt and pulse until smooth. (If you add the full container of yogurt at the beginning, the mixture is too thick to blend easily.) For a thicker smoothie, blend in up to a cup more ice. Serves two.



Any ripe banana will work, but a browned and frozen banana lends better flavor and texture.

Thank you for your interest in health and wellness. We believe Staying Active is important for WORK.SPORT.LIFE.

From The Entire Staff

Physical Therapy & Injury Specialists


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