Friday, August 2, 2013

Roll Away ITBS

I got my ITBS previously just before my first marathon 2 years ago. I was setting it at bay by mainly stretching and strengthening. That was my left leg. Recently (may be not too recent though), I got my right hip pain, which again is part of the ITB or some say connecting muscles issue. The nagging pains on the outer hip can only temporary ease by the stretching. I think this arise from my long hours of standing in the training class, and long hours of sitting in the office (keeping the same muscles stressed post for long hours).

Also, this may caused by my running form. My right side of the body is less flexible. Which in the running context, I normally used my right leg to propel forward (cause it is more stable due to less flexible) hence it worked harder and I really can’t blame it for having problem :P
The picture took from a very good article posted by Andy. I will say the picture actually reflecting my problem. I rectified partially during my first encounter with ITBS, but clearly there are some more works undone. More effort needed to adjust my running form. But meanwhile, I must first taking care the ITBS. Stretching and the strengthening exercises do provide some relief, but the nagging pain will still come back. Then I venture into roller.

The foam roller selling in the market is expensive (range from MYR90~200). I got the idea from Paul Liong (a barefoot master) and TriStupe to make my own first PVC 3” pipe roller. Tried few weeks and its help, but the PVC pipe is too soft and it start to deform into oval shape (make rolling difficult). Then I look into difference material.
1. The gray color pipe is the said 3” PVC pipe.
2. The white color pipe is a 2” PU pipe.
3. The blue color pipe is a 1” ABS pipe.
4. Form roller – “Iron TheFitBar”.
The item 1 – 3 are plastic water pipes from hardware shop, which only cost me less than MYR10 (sand paper included to round the cutting edge). Both PU and ABS are harder than PVC, and more suitable to work as roller. But they are not very common material in the market and you will need to pre-order for anything bigger than the 2” PU or 1” ABS pipe. Rolling the big muscles group like ITB or hip with smaller diameter roller take more skill and adding more stress to already stressful life. Hence I start to look for a marketed “proper” foam roller. Btw, the 1” ABS pipe is actually perfect for calves’ muscles rolling.

I came across the TheFitBar brand in Athletes Circles during early June. They are selling at MYR125 with discount in conjunction of SCKLM. So I bring it home but I didn’t seriously roll on it until after my India trip last week. The poor road condition in Mumbai and overnight flight back home made the nagging pain to unbearable level. And I started to roll on the FitBar on daily basis (10 minutes per day). After a week, the nagging pain still lingering, but at least I felt its start to easy up and perhaps it will cured if I continue rolling on it. Compared the FitBar with the other plastic water pipes, the rolling is easier on the big diameter (6”) and the foam is light weight but as hard as the ABS material. You may able to find some similar PS foam from the art or stationary supplier, but those are low density and soft.

If you suffered with ITBS, apart from the stretching and strengthening exercise, I will recommend that you get a foam roller and roll those big muscles groups regularly. Do you need to spend MYR125 for a FitBar or other similar marketed foam roller? Nope, the smaller diameter pipes will still perform the task (but you need to adjust and lower down your body further for the rolling). On the other note, don’t go for those softly padded foam rollers, if you are hardcore runner that needs to deal with your tight muscles regularly, get the hard surface. Yes it will be more painful to roll on the hard one, but the impact is also better.

Happy Rolling!

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