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Pulled hamstring (Read 611 times)


I'm back!

    I've never had hamstring issues before, so this is a new thing for me, and I'm not sure how to deal with it.

     

    I did something to my left hamstring -- pull, strain, partial tear, I don't know what exactly -- on Thanksgiving, doing my final speedwork (3x1600 at 5k pace) before the Tucson marathon. I didn't feel anything at the time, but after that the hamstring started hurting on every run.

     

    I was tapering anyway at that point, but backed off even more. With no change in two weeks, a couple days before the marathon, I was freaking out, but got a good (very painful) massage from my sports massage person, and gave the marathon a shot anyway. Fortunately it wasn't an issue in the race, and I PRed.

     

    I took a full week off after that, and started back very slowly. But time off and skipping days doesn't seem to make any difference. Eventually I realized that the first 1/2 mile always hurts, no matter what, then it loosens up, so I'm back to running every day, trying to follow a modified Hansons plan for Boston. I can't do the speedwork, though, at least at 5K pace. I am trying to do the MP (tempo) runs; those are more manageable.

     

    I'm doing lots of extra stretching, using a hot pad to warm up the hamstring before runs, everything I can think of. I keep expecting that it will get better, but if so it's happening very slowly.

     

    The big immediate concern is that I have a 100 miler in three weeks (Rocky Raccoon). I had to DNS my last hundred, so I would hate to miss this one as well. Beyond that, I'm nominally well into Boston training now, and I need to be able to do that speedwork.

     

    Of course, if I did have a partial tear, the last thing I want is to really tear it and need surgery.

     

    One thing I read this morning did shed a little light -- hamstring pulls are more likely when there is a big muscle imbalance (strong quads). I did a lot of quad strengthening last year training for Western States, so that probably contributed.

     

    Has anyone dealt with a pulled hamstring before? Do these symptoms look familiar? How did you handle it?

     

    Thanks.

      Dealt with this one too.  In my experience I could still run on a pulled hamstring.  In fact, it was better to run on it rather than take days off because it would tighten up more in between runs and then there would be a risk of re-pulling it.  I kept the runs short and slow and had to consciously think of taking shorter strides which were less aggravating to it.  After the run, I would stretch very very easily, never to the point of feeling any pain - just enough to ensure a similar range of motion to the pre-run state.  Good luck with this.  Hopefully others will chime in.

      Running Goals ...

       

      "But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep."  Robert Frost


      I'm back!

        Thanks. Yes, I am keeping most runs slow at least, and haven't done anything very long lately.

         

        How long did it take for your symptoms to go away?


        Prince of Fatness

          I'm doing lots of extra stretching.

           

          When my hamstrings flare up stretching only seems to make them worse.  When I say that I mean static stretching.  Dynamic stuff like legs swings are OK.  Honestly though I don't bother with stretching the hamstrings.  At all.

           

          I find that strengthening exercises keep the flare ups at bay.  Lunges, leg curls, etc.  ART helped, too.  I agree with your imbalance theory, so maybe an overall core strengthening routine would help.

           

          That's all I've got.  Good luck.

          Semi-retired.


          I'm back!

            Well, my massage therapist told me both hamstrings were ridiculously tight. And leading up to the marathon, I had been skimping on the stretches. And core work, and strength exercises... so I got what I deserve.

             

            I never do static stretches before a workout, dynamic only. Static stretches are after, and twice a week in the evening, in dedicated stretching sessions.

            xor


              I pretty much agree with the potato man.  I dorked up my left hamstring at Last Chance 2010 (12/31/10)... it audibly popped... and didn't do a good job at taking care of it.  Took a whole week off, and then jumped right back in.  Bothered me throughout 2011.  Also bothered me in 2012 until May-ish.  And then it went away.

               

              And I too have been told I have "ridiculously tight" hamstrings.

               

              17 months is some bullshit (of course, I still managed 4000+ miles in 2011, 2000+ in the first half of 2012, BQed, PRed, EIEIOed, etc, so it didn't turn me into a turnip.  But I ached... a lot... and it certainly impacted "what could have been").

               

              What changed?

               

              1. More aggressive with the foam roller.  Not just "as needed", but regularly.  And...

              2. ...actual PT visit to determine muscle imbalances (which I suspected) followed by targeted exercises and a lesson on how best to utilize the foam roller.  As well as better dynamic movements/stretches for after runs.  Which I religiously do now.

              3.  Strengthening through yoga.  But also finally learning the commonsense not to do this if/when it aches.

              4. Did I mention strengthening?  Not just hamstrings to balance quads... but also glutes and hips.

              5. Paying more attention to form.

              6. Being kinder to myself on trails.  I stopped trying to be The World's Worst Trail Runner when it was actively hurting.

              7.  Enough people were yelling at me about it at races.

              Edit: 8.  Mid 2012 is when I started experimenting with different shoe types too.  I have been running in Stability shoes since 2000.  I started trying neutral shoes, different drops, etc.  This implies some risk, but I've learned a lot about myself too.  And, well, my hamstring got better about the same time that I started mixing up my shoe types and hasn't returned.  Strengthening...

               

              Honestly, when I tried to break my foot at Rocky 2012, that was both a wake up call that I need to be kinder to myself and also it gave me a month-long breather to re-assess and start down the path to making the shit go away.

               

              In retrospect, although I was all "I can deal with this" for 17 months, I would have preferred not to do that.  But at the same time, hamstring issues are tricky and it takes TIME to make it all better.

               

              It is also amazing how interconnected this stuff is.  When my hamstring was acting up and range of motion issues (and pain) caused me to change my form/stride, I'd have other types of issues.  Sometimes I'd ponder how to fix THOSE issues without consciously realizing that it was probably all related to my chupa hamstring.  Who knows, maybe this is why I hurt myself at Rocky.

               

              So says the guy who DNFed at M12 of white river.  Sigh.  When one door closes, another opens.

               


              day after day sameness

                Dec 8, 2012. A day which shall live in infamy for my right hamstrings. 2 of 3 muscle groups partially ruptured.... We've got two runners in this thread who routinely pound out miles like they're exports from China. Please teach me the solution to this, because 4+ weeks off has only gotten me back to being able to walk.  (and I'm up to 10 pounds of weight on the seated leg curl. Wohoo!)  [versus 40 on good leg]

                Choosing my words carefully has never been my strength I've been known to be vague and often pointless

                  Thanks. Yes, I am keeping most runs slow at least, and haven't done anything very long lately.

                   

                  How long did it take for your symptoms to go away?

                   

                  Took me a couple of weeks to get back to normal.  My case was kind of mild, I guess.

                  Running Goals ...

                   

                  "But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep."  Robert Frost

                    Well, my massage therapist told me both hamstrings were ridiculously tight. And leading up to the marathon, I had been skimping on the stretches. And core work, and strength exercises... so I got what I deserve.

                     

                    I never do static stretches before a workout, dynamic only. Static stretches are after, and twice a week in the evening, in dedicated stretching sessions.

                     

                    I would not befocused on enhancing flexibility on injured muscle. Over stretching will slow healing progress. It should heal over 6 weeks if you avoid irritating it. Iit pull in middle of hammy?

                    Those who try, fail! Those who do what it takes to succeed, succeed!!

                      Squats and Romanian deadlifts are good for hamstrings - they work both to strengthen and to stretch.

                        Has anyone dealt with a pulled hamstring before? Do these symptoms look familiar? How did you handle it?

                         

                        To be honest when I read your whole description of the problem it sounds like much of my life as a runner. I definitely ran my PR marathon with my left hamstring barking at me the whole 2nd half and, like you, had to take a week off and then a lot of just jogging time afterward before it was "okay" again.

                         

                        The thing that has worked best for me over the years--similar to runinskirts' experience--has been to just do all short, easy jogs with few or no days off for as long as it takes for it to feel better, then start doing strides regularly as soon as possible. I think strides do more to keep your hamstrings strong and loose than anything.

                         

                        Other things that have helped me:

                        • Always do a long warmup (longer than you think you need) including a couple of strides, before any kind of speed work,
                        • Avoid long car rides, airplane flights and generally sitting in chairs for long stretches of time,
                        • Duck walk for 50 or 100 yards after several easy runs a week,
                        • Quit running marathons.

                        In order to fit the amount of running I do into the life I've chosen for myself, I don't have ANY extra time for things like massage therapists, PT, yoga, weights etc. so I've never tried any of that really.

                        Runners run.

                          I do mostly easy jogging. Sometimes my hamstring will hurt. I follow some advice I read in these forums and when my hamstring hurts, I include some fast-as-i-can-go sprints in my regular running. I suppose the theory is that I will either make it a lot better or a lot worse. I do this a few times a year and so far, it has made the pain/tightness go away.

                          Longboat


                          Letting off steam

                            I've had minor pulls and one not so minor.  About 2 weeks for the minor ones, 6 weeks of easy runs before the no-so-minor one went away.  I was usually able to run through these, but often only at much slower paces.

                             

                            As SRL said, roll the hell out of it regularly.  Like some others, I would not try to stretch (static) an injured muscle; at most a gentle stretch.  Longer term, stretching may help.  But most PT's think that most runners have ridiculously tight muscles, so I'd discount that a bit.

                            Neil

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                            Nearly back to 100% 6 months after Achilles surgery. Now at 35 50 mpw.

                            Base building time!

                              I'll just echo what everyone else said...no stretching...lots of easy running...rolling (but NOT over rolling...and don't roll the site of the injury...just all the surrounding muscles)...then once it's healed strengthening.

                               

                              If you are in to or know yoga at all locust pose is great for a twingy hamstring (I recommend keeping the chin on the floor and lifting just 1 leg at a time for equal amounts a time; a few times each). Just don't over do it or injure your lower back in trying to heal a hammy and be mindful of your capacity!

                               

                              MTA: Oh yeah, sitting...ugh...like mikeymike said...avoid long periods of sitting.  I don't know what duck walking is though...that has me intrigued.

                                 I don't know what duck walking is though...that has me intrigued.

                                 

                                Walk on your heels with your knees locked and your toes pointed up. It doesn't seem like it should but it stretches your hamstrings really well.

                                Runners run.

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