As one who lost an entire season to a bad case of IT band injury and subsequent physical therapy I can say:
IT band injuries happen because of misalignment which causes rubbing.
That can happen for these reasons:
- fatigue (increasing your mileage/effort too quickly
Mild cases are inflammation. Get on an advil/ice regiment for a few weeks
Bad cases actually involve some fraying of the band which take a LONG time to heal. You're looking at 6 weeks minimum, followed by running to get started again, then low mileage with low effort, then very (very) gradual reintroduction of distance and effort.
Presuming the best case scenario:
Take it easy for a while. No hard rides for a few weeks.
I second the foam roller. Get one. Use it regularly. Once your IT band toughens up to that go for a harder one like the TriggerPoint: http://www.amazon.com/The-Grid-Revoluti ... 539&sr=1-3
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Stretch your hamstrings and quads regularly.
Get your bike fit
Support muscles are critical. Sometimes you have an imbalance that you are overcompensating for which just makes it worse. It wasn't until I was in PT that I realized how wobbly my right leg was compared to the left. It was crazy, I could barely balance on it at all.
To build those support muscles add some cross training to the mix:
- jogging to promote bone density
- lunges and one legged squats to build stability
- on one leg: hop back and forth over a line on the floor/road (20 hops per leg, 3x repeats)
While riding: pay attention to your form especially when you get tired
--this is when your legs may lose their alignment and start the IT band rubbing.
Best of luck.