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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Is it iliotibial band syndrome - or is it Wobbly wheels syndrome?

"Hi Gary
I did my first marathon in July last year and had very tight ITB bands afterwards. I had a few weeks off then starting running again. When I did my first few runs I developed a shooting pain around my knee. I have been for physio treatment on and off and had a big break from running but I’ve just tried starting back again and the knee pain has come back. It is where my ITB band joins my knee on the outside of my left leg. Do you have any suggestions/advice on how to overcome this injury so I can get back to running again.
Photo: Here is an example of useless therapy in action - Get the cart after the horse please: This patient needs to improve nutritional status first before any kind of physical therapy can be expected to give lasting benefit.
Gary Moller comments:

Further discussion with this 30'ish very active woman revealed that this injury is just one of a whole succession of injuries over the last few years, all of which have been pushed, prodded, massaged, manipulated or exercised in various way, including the near mandatory fitting of the dreaded orthotics. I have concluded that she is suffering "Wobbly Wheels Syndrome" (WWS). "

I clicked to WWS several years ago because I kept getting inquiries like this: "Gary, I get a week into exercising in the gym and my knee flares up. I rest for a couple of weeks, and go see the physio several times and then my hip goes and then its the knee again. Then its my back and and then my doctor tells me I have blood pressure! I feel as if my body is falling apart. Am I just getting old? Should I just give up and go buy a rocking chair?"
No, it is not really about getting old and this person does not need the rocking chair - But his wheels and other part are getting loose and worn. Time to put the body into the Body Workshop for some major tender loving care.

WWS has little to do with getting old. I think it is a case of the body getting exhausted and depleted. The body needs to recharge its batteries. This means a physical and emotional rest from the rush of modern life and a diet with some supplements to restore depleted stocks.
The therapy that I usually recommend for conditions like recurrent iliotibial band pain, glandular fever or high blood pressure is a combination of corrective exercises, rest, sun and nutrition. This may include advising the person to take a lenghty holiday in the sun in a place like the peaceful and isolated Cook Islands and living on the locally grown fruits and vegetables. This advice works without fail. Their injury and health problems resolve within a few weeks and the person is able to resume exercise later on with energy and enthusiasm and without recurrence of health or injury issues.

I have thought often about setting up a health resort in a place like the Cooks as an alternative to the costly, wasteful and mostly ineffective medical treatment that goes on for conditions like cardiovascular disease, obesity, depression and anxiety, chronic fatigue and arthritis (to name a few). Unfortunately, all the health money has been sucked up by these wasteful therapies, leaving little over for the therapies that actually work.


Anonymous said...

But wouldn't you check the position of the hips when running to ensure that they are in a neutral position and the ITB's are not being used to stablilise the core because the core is weak and the back is hyper extended?

Gary Moller said...

In the context of my article, if the body and mind are stressed and exhausted and the body depleted as described, these measures would be little more than "patch-up" medicine.

With regards to "core" issues, I have never been convinced that this is really a problem with running other than in a few rare cases. Its an over-rated and over-complicated matter that keeps a lot of personal trainers employed. (Got to write an article about this!).

And any imbalances or weaknesses are better corrected by running drills and a handful of simple exercises.

I would of course welcome your views on what I have said beause what I have said here goers completely against the flow of the majority.