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TMS disguised as IT Band Syndrome

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by JoyceVT, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. JoyceVT

    JoyceVT Well known member

    Hello everyone, it's been a while since I've posted. I recently ran my second marathon in Philadelphia this past November with great success. I had experienced TMS symptoms in the beginning of training and got through them by acknowledging that they were indeed TMS. Monte Hueffle was also helpful with a couple phone consultations. And he helped me once again when I had other TMS symptoms closer to the marathon.

    After the marathon I did have a real injury as ultrasound showed a small tear in a foot (pernoneous brevis) tendon that happened right after the marathon. I got through that injury OK with only a couple weeks off from running. Then my left shin splint came back to haunt me. Even Monte feels that shin splints may be real injuries due to the constant pounding of the lower legs. Perhaps it's a combination of TMS and a real injury. I was managing the shin problem this past January while building up my mileage in preparation for the Boston marathon. Then IT band syndrome symptoms crept up on me forcing me to take several more weeks offf and giving up the Boston marathon once again! At the moment I'm only swimming, doing elliptical workouts, and alpine skiing.

    The IT band syndrome feels like TMS for me. However it's also a very common soreness experienced by runners. Typically the pain doesn't start until a a little while after you start running. Depending on the person it can come on after a few minutes or a few miles or even 10+ miles. And it gradually gets worse. The symptom is almsot always a sharp soreness/pain on the later side of knee. Doctors say the bursa is inflamed. I've fallen into the old habbits of "injury think" and have been seeing a chiropractor and PT for treating this problem. But a few days ago, my husband and I both felt that this is another TMS outbreak for me. I'm having a terrible time in my life right now with my job and feel so close to quitting. I've been miserable for a while. So it would be a perfect time for TMS to creep into my life again.

    Any runners out there get through TMS disguised as IT band syndrome? Thoughts? I want to go out for a run today but fear has me worried it will start hurting after a half mile which has been the norm. It's scary and hard to reverse my thinking from focussing on the body being injured. But I know I have to be vigilant.

    I look forward to any responses!

    Thank you,
    Joyce :)
    intense50 likes this.
  2. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Doesn't it seem to you that attempting to compete in marathons while working at a job you despise sure sounds like a recipe for developing psychogenic symptoms to distract you from some underlying deep psychological conflict? After I completed my Ph.D. dissertation and passed my area exams, I found I could run and run and run all day long and just keep getting stronger and stronger. Felt great! However, when I had to work in an office full of people who hated me, I just kept coming down with upper respiratory infections no matter how much I took care of myself and trained hard. Don't get me wrong: I achieved a whole lot working at a crappy job I hated with my whole soul, but looking back now I have to wonder whether my accomplishments in such a negative situation were really worth the pain and suffering? Probably not! My own TMS acts very much like IT band problems too, but it's definitely not from running marathons and developed (while out running) after caring for my mother with dementia for 5 years. It's really hard, I realize, to distinguish between a regular exercise-induced sprain and the pain of TMS. But it would be better to resolve your job-related stress issues in any case.
  3. JoyceVT

    JoyceVT Well known member

    Thanks MorComm - I actually had a job interview today for something that will make me happier and with better people.
  4. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes, Joyce, reconfiguring your fundamental situation does sound like it's very much in order!
  5. Stella

    Stella Well known member

    I had IT band pain. I was not doing any running or walking. I was sitting at the computer. I saw a Doctor of Rehabilitation. Of course everything was blamed on my scoliosis... one leg slightly shorter. He suggested I put a phone book under my right foot when sitting. It helped temporarily and finally went away.

    Now it has come back 10 years later. Today I know it is TMS. I walk 4-6 miles each day. it does not stop me. I have had shin splints for 20 years. I also know they are TMS. It took me awhile to make the connection.
  6. JoyceVT

    JoyceVT Well known member

    Hi SandyRae - thank you for your post! I'm so glad you are able to overcome your ITBS and shin splints knowing it's TMS. I'm a believer in TMS and know I have it. But it's sometimes hard to differentiate between TMS and real running injuries when I'm marathon training and running over 50 miles a week (a lot for me). For my latest TMS flare up (ITBS) I am feeling more confident it's just TMS. It would make sense.

    My big hurdle right now is going out for a run and trying not to worry or look for the soreness after I hit the 2 mile mark on my runs. Any advice would be helpful :)

  7. Stella

    Stella Well known member

    Hi Joyce,
    I am certainly new to all the TMS business. My perception is that all IT Band pain and shin splint pain is TMS because it is unexplainable. But I sure don't understand how running like you do impacts the body so I can see your dilemma. I question the differentiation of various ailments all the time too wondering of they are real, for me, right now... they are not. Sandy
  8. Dexy

    Dexy Peer Supporter

    Hi Joyce--just wondering how this turned out for you? I am currently experiencing IT band and lower back pain when I run. I am a major TMS person and have resolved all of my other physical issues using this approach; however, I have been running 6x a week and this certainly feels like an overuse issue. I'm wondering how you fared.
    intense50 likes this.
  9. JoyceVT

    JoyceVT Well known member

    Hi Dexy, sorry you are dealing with running issues. Very frustrating and I can totally understand!

    I ended up taking couple weeks off from running and my IT band issues went away back in 2013. They might have been TMS but I was also dealing with a chronic off and on shin problem which later proved to be TMS. So I'm not 100% sure my IT band was TMS. But it could have been TMS. It's really hard to say if I was getting back to training too hard too soon. I was training for the Boston marathon and I think I was increasing my mileage too quickly. Your lower back is probably TMS from my experiences. But that's just an opinion.

    I think if you just rested for a week or two you might see improvement with the IT band. Let it calm down. I say this because you are running 6 days a week. I don't know how old you are but that is a lot of days without recovery. I only ran 5 days a week and cross trained 1 or two days when training for marathons and I was able to run a sub 3:08 marathon on 5 days a week. That was in Oct 2013. I'm a bit older and now I'm focused on half and full Ironmans. I only run 3-4 days a week. Everyone is different and some people are lucky enough to run 7 days a week w/o injury. But for me (an older female age 46) running 6 days a week would cause me structural injuries. Not to give you a lecture but make sure 6 days a week is the right number for you. It sounds like a lot. Maybe add some swimming or cycling or other cross training into the mix and run 4-5 days a week. If you have a good balance with your training schedule with enough recovery and yet you are still experiencing those "niggly" issues, then it might be TMS. So again, rest your IT Band for a week to 2 and see how it feels. If it doesn't feel better after resting it, then it might be TMS! :)

    PS - it doesn't hurt to also incorporate good core/strength work into your week. I make sure I include the hips into my core routines. Also it's good to stretch the IT band and use a foam roller after longer or more intense running sessions. Since 2013 I haven't had any real IT band issues. Stretching and foam rolling keeps me in check during training.

    PSS - I'm currently dealing with two issues, one being a possible stress fracture in my foot. I got back to running toosoon and too much after my Ironman in August. This I do believe is structural. My "pinched nerve" is most likely TMS as I'm a big TMSer!
  10. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    I remember one summer in 1978 working as an Assistant Outward Bound instructor in the Pacific Northwest and hiking 750 miles with a 50 lb pack and running 3 half-marathons. Never had any chronic pain symptoms the whole time (except for sore leg muscles after the half-marathons). However, I was in a totally supportive environment with no major emotional stressors except for my gripes with the Outward Bound philosophy. In other words, never had any overuse pain symptoms, but I was in a totally emotionally non-stressed state after finishing my Ph.D. the year before. The future was bright ahead, which makes me think you can really push your body a lot and not hurt a lick if you're in the right emotional space. IOWs: It's emotional stress in your personal and emotional environment that keeps you from realizing your full athletic potential. TMS pain doesn't development when you're in good space.
  11. JoyceVT

    JoyceVT Well known member

    You were also much younger back in 1978 :)

    My Ironman coach is the happiest person you'll ever meet who has the best life and a super supportive environment. She was a Pro triathlete winning many Ironmans pushing her body to the limits. But she too had several stress fractures and many running injuries throughout her career. As she got older they increased. I'm not saying you can't push yourself to the limits as long as you are happy. Some people can do that as long as they are happy and in a good environment. But most of us do have to respect the aging process and realize we can't do the same high level training we did 20 years ago. Most of us need more recovery as we get older. Yes there are those special super humans who run marathons every day at age 70 or 80, but unfortunately not everyone can do that.

    I also know a semi-famous ultra runner who is always grumpy and miserable and this person never gets injured. :)
  12. Dexy

    Dexy Peer Supporter

    Thank you both for your replies. I tend to agree with you Joyce that my IT band issue may have some merit, but I also feel like the lower back pain is just TMS. I'm going to give myself a short period of time off of running and also transition into more cross-training as the seasons change-I'm an avid skate skier and downhill/backcountry. I also love swimming, so it looks like it's time to get back to some of those activities. Thanks to you both again.
  13. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Oh, Joyce, you don't know how contentious and power mad I was back in 1978! The point is that the "Force" was with me for a couple years after getting my Ph.D. I guess Henri Bergson would have called it the élan vital. Doesn't mean that you're all happy wappy though.
  14. JoyceVT

    JoyceVT Well known member

    That sounds like a great plan Dexy! Best wishes to you!
  15. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Joyce. Years ago I was in a job with a big insurance company and I hated it. I was always catching colds and even had the shakes at work. I quit after three years and got another job I liked a lot better. I haven't had even one cold since, and no shakes.

    Good luck in the new job. It's wonderful that you are so active.
  16. intense50

    intense50 Well known member

    Last edited: May 31, 2018
  17. Viridian

    Viridian Peer Supporter

    I too have experienced what I think is IT Band pain over the last few months.

    I run two or three times a week - only for around 20 minutes each run but recently I've started feeling this tightness on the outside of my left knee after running for around 8 minutes which then turns into a very sharp intense pain until I can no longer run and have to stop. I've also had problems walking after as the pain lingers but it's usually unnoticeable the day after.

    What's confusing is that I've had success in drastically reducing my TMS symptoms recently, even eliminating them for periods. I have reduced my anxiety/fear levels dramatically and have been feeling consistently good for the first time, well, ever!

    My main symptoms affected areas I really needed in my life - ''RSI/Carpal'' in wrists/hands as I'm a musician, problems with the voice etc.

    Running isn't something I really care about all that much, it's just a stressbuster for me. It's peculiar that such intense symptoms would suddenly pop in in this area...

    I'm not sure whether this is actually a proper injury or TMS and I should challenge the symptoms and keep running? My running shoes and technique probably aren't the best so I wonder if that's an issue?

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