Surgery Posts

 The Story:

On August 16, 2012, after more than 4 months of fighting with IT band syndrome, I had surgery to remove the bursa below my IT band, lengthen the IT band, and get rid of any scar tissue that may have also been causing pain. 

During surgery, my surgeon found that I also have a larger than normal meniscus (note that this was NOT evident on an MRI) that became frayed, thus causing me even more pain.

Since there is very little information out there about this rare surgery, I’ve decided to use this page as a quick reference for anyone looking for more information on the surgery and the recovery period following the operation. Below is a recovery calendar as well as all posts related to my recovery.

*Recovery Update: Less than 14 months after surgery, I ran the Chicago Marathon 17 minutes faster than my previous PR before the surgery.   I’ve since run 4 more marathons, including two 48.6 mile Dopey Challenges, with no pain.

*Click here for a full list of the stretches and exercises I use to prevent ITBS in the future.

RECOVERY CALENDAR (click to enlarge):


the decision to have surgery.

surgery and my first 4 days post-op.

3 annoying things i experienced one week post-op.

improvements seen two-weeks post-op.

1st week of physical therapy.

three weeks post-op.

life at four weeks post-op.

legitimate cross-training and 95% ROM (5 weeks).

returning to normal! 6 weeks post-op.

i’m gonna RUN soon! 7 weeks post-op.

8 weeks post-op & approved to “run.”

RETURN TO RUNNING! 9 weeks post-op.

3 months post-op – finished the run/walk program!

Running for mileage now!


61 Responses to Surgery Posts

  1. RunNes

    How are you feeling? Please Update…im having the surgery in 3 weeks! good luck with your recovery!

    • DErunnerNIAL

      i’m sorry to hear that you’ve been suffering from ITBS too! it really is awful! i just posted an update on how my first few days went post-op and i’ll definitely continue posting as i begin my rehab. feel free to e-mail (angela {at} runnerindenial {dot} com) me with any questions as well as i know going into a surgery that is rarely done is pretty damn scary. keep in touch!

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  18. Kim

    I’m grateful that you journaled your experiences with IT Band surgery and recovery. After 15 months of outer knee pain and miss diagnosis I finally had IT Band release surgery in Boston last week. There is not a lot if information about this surgery available so I read all your posts and they were so helpful. My recovery seems to be tracking along very similar to yours. Thank you for sharing 🙂 I haven’t run since completing the very hot 2012 Boston marathon with team Dana Farber. What an incredible experience….. I hope to repeat in 2015. The devastation that this years marathon suffered pales in comparison to my post op woes. It helps to keep things in perspective. I’m wondering about ibuprofen use? My doctor doesn’t recommend it post op only Tylenol now that I’m done (maybe prematurely) with narcotic painkillers. Do you have any thoughts on ibuprofen use post op? I’m having trouble walking still (surgery 4/17) due to pain and a lot of swelling. Advil apparently can impede healing. Congrats on getting back to running! Inspirational…
    Best wishes Kim

    • DErunnerNIAL

      Hi Kim! I’m sorry to hear that you had to have the surgery but do know that better days are ahead! I had trouble walking for a while and don’t even get me started about the stairs! It takes time but it’s good knowing that it won’t be TOO long before you’re back and running again. I took primarily tylenol at first but did switch over to aleve after a few weeks and felt it helped me deal with any lingering swelling and pain. hope you have a speedy recovery!

      • Kaitlyn

        I was wondering where you got your surgery done and who did it? I live in California and running is my life I need to get surgery fast! Please email me at

        • Kim

          I’m in Boston and had surgery at N.E. Baptist by Dr. Bill Mitchell. Best of luck.

        • jessica

          I live in west virginia. Dr. Knutson did mine. Dont away think surgery is the answer and going to help out. I got surgery well over a year ago and I’m still in pain. But I hope it works out better for you than it did for me! Good luck!

          • DErunnerNIAL

            Sorry you’re still in pain! I’ve completely recovered and just ran my fastest marathon in Chicago last month. Any reason your docs think you’re still having trouble? That seems so awful 🙁

          • jessica

            He said it could be my IT band so I go friday for another MRI . And I will go from there I guess

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  21. jessica

    I had surgery on my knee over a year ago and I’m still in pain today. Every day I hurt and nothin seems to help. No OTC meds work. I have gotten one cortizone shot about a month ago and that didn’t help either. I might get surgery on my IT Band, but idk yet. I got to get an mri done on my hip in about a week. Then when I get my results I will go from there. I’m 22 years old and I don’t like being in pain everyday. There is nights when I have a hard time falling to sleep cause I’m in pain or I wake up in the middle of the night cause I’m in pain. I just want it to go away. If only it was that simple though.

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  25. Ken

    Thanks for posting your story about this injury. I just had similar surgery and it’s been helpful to read.

  26. Cara

    I also want to thank you for posting your recovery! This has been the most helpful and encouraging blog I’ve read, especially with issues that are so hard to find information on. I just had surgery and reading your entries has helped tremendously. Thank you and all the best wishes for your running (and spinning)!

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  28. Kim Bragg

    Thanks so much for posting your progress. I am scheduled to have surgery on sept 5th and my biggest concern is how soon were you able to drive?

    • DErunnerNIAL

      I wish I could tell you… but as I live in NYC, I actually haven’t driven in years. Seeing as though I was up and running pretty quickly, I’d imagine one could be driving within two weeks? Gah! I don’t know!

      • Reed

        Thank you for posting your story. I am very interested in who did your surgery. Can you post or email me the name of your doctor? Thanks!

  29. meg

    Does anyone know of a good Itband surgeon in the northwest?

  30. Chloe Lindsay

    Hi I am not a runner in fact I don’t think I have ever run in my life, when I was 16 I was diagnosed with this syndrome in both legs! I struggle daily with walking due to the pain of the IT band clunking over my leg! In 2012 I had the surgery on both legs. For a while I was pain free but 2 years later I am having to try the surgery again as the clunking has come back, i was just wondering if anyone else has had this surgery re-done? Thanks Chloe

  31. Bob

    Hey, signed up for IT Band surgery. Was it worth it?
    I am really having a hard time just thinking about recovery from it. Did you lose any stability in the knee from the surgery?

    • DErunnerNIAL

      MORE THAN WORTH IT! The recovery wasn’t all that rough but you have to really put the work into the physical therapy. I ran a half-marathon with no problems less than 5 months after surgery. Absolutely no loss of stability and I’m running stronger than ever. In 3 weeks, I’ll be running my 4th marathon since surgery. Best of luck!

  32. Bob

    Thank you for the fast reply with this. Best of luck with your marathon. I signed up for the Disney marathon, but my training went to hell because of this IT band issue. I thought that i could push trough it, but after two years of knee pain i am done. Thanks for the great information on here!

  33. I am two weeks post op, for the very same thing. Had my bursa removed and IT band lengthened on Jan 8.
    Fought this thing for 5 years, and finally gave up went for the surgical procedure. I did everything i could to strengthen my abductors, stretch and foam roll. And that got me barely through my first half ironman last November…wow, my IT band flared up the first mile of the run, and i had to power walk the rest.
    But thanks for posting about your ITBS journey + surgery recovery timeline. I am using it as a guideline myself, cheers!

    • DErunnerNIAL

      Happy and speedy healing! Let me know how your recovery is going!

    • Bob

      Tim, I had the survery done on Nobember 4th 2015. Tryed to run a marathon January 10th 2016, made it 18 miles then had to run walk. By 20 miles it was just a walk, but I did not get flaged off the coures and finished. Don’t push it like I did if possable, I still have some recovery issues.

      • Bob,
        Oh wow, sorry to hear!
        I am curious about your status present day, and before you had the surgery…in terms of how far you could run before you felt discomfort?
        For me, I was limited to…
        – a couple miles if i was traveling at 8 min/mile
        – 5K @ 9:30 min/mile
        – 5 miles @ > 10 min/mile
        When i say limited…and further/faster…i would get the “twinge” lightning/pinch sensation on my IT band close to the bursa. If i don’t stop…it would progress to a burning, or even stabbing sensation.

        • Bob

          I was dealing with the IT band issues for such a long time, did all the shots, therapy, and pre race meds just to get the race in. The orthopedic doc. I was with, never did the surgery before, then new orthopedic group came to town.
          But, after a Olympic tri on sep 28th 2015, I decided to take 2 weeks off and heal before the Marathon training started. I had to started back up and still take something for pain just to train, then one evening went out to run and could not get 1/8 of a mile in and walked home. So, went in for surgery asap 11-04-2015 also had a slightly tore municuis fix, and was off work 6 weeks.
          I did swim as soon as I could get the area wet, could not walk well, but you now we have to train on. I am only 3 month, tomorrow, today I still feel week at times but positive it will be back, flexibility still needs to improve some. I can’t complain at all, after all I did try to run a marathon 2 month after surgery. When you can run again, it is a great feeling, not to have the stabbing pain.

          • Holy smokes Bob…wasn’t sure I read that right on your initial reply regarding running a marathon two months after the surgery…that is pretty aggressive!
            I am at 4 weeks right now, my surgeon has only instructed to work on light PT and hold of on doing pretty much anything repetitive (cycling/swimming/elliptical). I am scheduled to meet with him after 5 weeks; and I believe at that point I will begin to be exposed to some limited cycling.
            At 4 weeks I have at least 90% range of motion…and I feel the strength beginning to return. When i have to, i can make it up stairs decently; but I can’t walk down stairs normally yet.

          • DErunnerNIAL

            Oh wow. A marathon two months later?!?! Two months after surgery I was just approved to begin a run/walk program, which was mostly walking with short intervals of comfortable running. I didn’t attempt my first full marathon until over a year post-surgery and haven’t had any issues since (knocking on ALL the wood).

          • Bob

            Ya , I would not recemend doing that, could not walk for two days after. Just take your time, learn how to walk again with out favoring the other leg. You will be back, and do the PT and roll out the leg it helps. I did water jogging along with lap swim. Good luck!

  34. Richard Cronk

    Hi, my name is Rich and a 38 yr old male and live in the UK. 3 years ago i had operation for distal femoral osteotamy knee staightening on my right leg which i waited 30 years to have done. (Metal plate attached to both bones keeping them in place). Ever since i have suffered with a tight ITB, which has restricted the motion of bend in my knee. No amount of pain killers do anything for it, so have now considered having surgery to release the tightness. I am in constant pain and it affects my day to day life as i am on my feet all day with work(Barman). Have been referred back to my knee specialist next month, hopefully he will do operation and i can lead a normal life again.
    Look forward to your reply

  35. David K.

    Not sure if you’re still reading this but thanks! I’m 3 weeks post open it band lengthening and have been discouraged. Started up 5 months ago and nothing helped, my dr had only performed 2 prior but with good results, said he read up on the most current techniques which really made me feel better that he was doing current techniques. Anyway, he’s not prescribed any PT, said I could go back in 4 days to work (horrible idea lol). I waited a week, went back for 2 days, and something popped creating a spontaneous 70ml blood knee effusion, with a needle aspiration needed…no fun- so alas- another week off. But 3 weeks in still hurts and still limping, but I am doing stairs like a 90 year old woman! Going to try your regimen next week with a cycling and see if it helps. Thanks for your posts, gives me a much more realistic approach to how I’m progressing, albeit slowly. Can’t wait to start running again! Somewhat doubted at times if I’ve done the right thing but hoping I improve over the next 6 weeks as you did. One question, I’m still tender over the normal area I was sore at prior to the operation, hoping it’s just angry with me still,did you have any experience with that?

    • DErunnerNIAL

      PT was really the best thing for me – perhaps you could ask for a PT prescription to help with your recovery (even if doc doesn’t think you need it). Come back nice and slow and make sure you really take this time to heal. I was definitely still tender in the same area as I was prior to surgery. It used to make me nervous that I went through the surgery for nothing. Rest up and recover like a champ now 🙂 Best of luck!

    • Tim Jin

      David K,

      Hello; i remember the healing process was VERY slow for me as well. I had lengthening and removal of my swollen bursa in early Jan of this year. I remember I was not able to normally walk up/down stairs for several weeks.
      In the very beginning PT was very subtle/minimal. I am talking about holding your quad muscles flexed for progressive reps and just working on SLOWLY working on flexibility.
      I was fortunate to be working with the local area Memorial hermann ironman rehab center director for my PT, and the one thing i learned from him was taking a slow and steady progressive approach to reaching my goals.
      Hang in there, as I had doubts sometimes during the process. Even with the surgery, I found that I had to kill it as far as hip abductor strengthening. Therabands twice a week, and pushing on some decent weight on the hip abductor machines at the gym.
      I have taken return to running super slow. in the beginning it was more time on the stationary cycle. Some runs i would feel the boundary of when i should stop, i would feel a slight tingle or soreness. but eventually that boundary would push further away. i am currently running a 5K three times a week. that’s running 3 minutes and walking 1 minute; and am able to average a sub 9 min/mile pace.
      my goal is to be able to run 10K healthily so i can return to olympic triathlons! I am taking my sweet time to reach that goal, because i am in no hurry; want to do it right and fix the problem for good. As i have dealt with IT band issues for 4 years previously.
      So sorry for the long winded post, but i wanted to get across that healing time will be different for everyone. So take it slow, and don’t give up hope!

  36. Annie

    This has made me feel so much better at my point in recovery. I am 5 weeks post op, had the EXACT same procedure as you (kinda wonder if same doc since I am also in Chicago) and I was worried that I haven’t been doing a lot outside of PT. I do PT 3 times a week and bike about 20 minutes prior to each appointment but I am still not 100 to fully get back to stuff. I was feeling like I might have been doing something wrong but this really makes me feel like I will be okay!!!

  37. Tim Jin

    Just following up…had my bursa removed and IT band lengthened on Jan 8/2015. I have been VERY steadily building up distance and speed…i don’t want to piss off my other knee!
    So I am up to 6.4 miles in an hour (run/walk). Run 3 minutes, walk for no more than 1 minute.
    Prior to surgery i could not run more than 4.5 miles at a much slower overall pace.
    I am super excited to have made this progress; my goal for this year is just to participate in an olympic tri…and a Spartan beast.
    maintenance i have been working on is pistol squats, side stepping with a theraband at my ankles. been throwing in cross-training as well.
    good luck all! I will follow up with further progress.

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