Nicole's Journey as a Mom and Tri-athlete Recovering from IT Band Issues and Knee Pain

Mother of 3 and Tri-athlete’s Road to Recovery from IT Band Issues and Knee Pain

Being a mom of three with an active family, I love to enjoy the outdoors. Skiing, running, CrossFit, hiking, cycling, snowshoeing are some of my favorites. I love being able to participate in activities where you can measure the metrics and see incremental improvement and progress. Sometimes it is the small victories along the way or a new personal record that are the most rewarding.

“I have continued to work through issues and train for performance as opposed to being able to run or function at a basic healthy level. I have been able to continue my programmed training regiment, build the necessary fitness, and finish the CDA 70.3 with a new personal record.”

Photo by

Photo by

Family is very important to me, and I love volunteering at their school events. Last year, I helped with cross country as needed by the coach, which usually meant bringing up the rear and encouraging those kids. I’m cherishing this time when they still want me to be there and help out.

For several years I have had IT band problems. The first flare up was after having my first child, now 13, and it was one of the most frustrating and painful experiences. There was one occasion where I was out running a big loop and mid-way, my husband had to come pick me up since it literally felt like my knee was eating my IT band.

After numerous doctor appointments + MRI to try to figure out what was going on, I was referred to Mark Bengston at Pinnacle Physical Therapy. It was definitely a long recovery process since it had gotten so bad with inflammation, scar tissue and improper alignment/posture from carrying a toddler on my hip. It took time, but he was able to get me up and running again, I was able to get back to running and triathlons and completed a couple of half Ironman races. (Continued on rear).

After having two more kids, I’ve experienced on and off issues, which Mark was able to quickly resolve prior to planned running and Spartan races.

This last year has been different in that the training intensity has increased to prepare me for the CDA 70.3, I had a more ambitious goal than with prior half Ironman races and was actually having coaching and programming to get me there. Everything was okay until the running distances started to increase with added intensity. During the CDA half marathon, my leg started to get away from me again and I had to slow it down a little during the middle of the race and try to get it back under me. Overall it was a great race and I was super happy with my time which was a new PR.

Up until this race, I had actually been doing my PT exercises at home, but it had been a full year since I had an appointment at Pinnacle. The reality is that I just don’t do the exercises the same/correctly at home and a refresher was definitely needed to get me back on track to ensure there would be no issues during the CDA Half Ironman.

Photo by FinisherPix

Photo by FinisherPix

The CDA 70.3 was absolutely amazing since the IT Band has been kept in check (post half marathon flare up). The difference this past year is that I haven’t had to take a break, rest and start ramping up again. I’ve been able to maintain the higher level of intensity while working through issues and training for performance as opposed to being able to run or function at a basic healthy level. I have been able to continue my programmed training regiment, build the necessary fitness, and finish the CDA 70.3 with a new personal record. What was even more amazing, there were no specific issues or pain during the entire race aside from general race fatigue and my glutes were on fire.

If someone else was experiencing knee pain, or other pain, I would highly recommend Pinnacle just for the wonders they have worked with me. Even if you have had PT to work through an injury and you aren’t happy with your level of performance, continue your appointments and make sure the doctor working with you is on the same page.

I have learned so much about my body, became more aware of bad habits such as leaning to my right in almost everything I do and how to correct some of these issues that were coming out as a very painful IT band issue.

Periodically I find myself getting lazy with form while running and not engaging the correct muscles, which results in that twinge of knee pain. I’m able to refocus and get it under control thanks to everything I’ve learned. With continuing PT during performance training, I have been able to safely work through some blockades that would have previously forced rest and recovery. Even post CDA 70.3 I felt good. After a couple of days of rest, I was back at training as my adventurous friends (and very supportive families) get ready to race Calgary 70.3 in August. I’m grateful for the experience I’ve had at Pinnacle and all of their expertise.