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1751 Views 3 Replies Latest reply: Sep 10, 2011 1:49 PM by how2runfast
jginter Rookie 2 posts since
Mar 25, 2008
Currently Being Moderated

Aug 23, 2011 7:23 AM

Hamstring injury

Hi all,

I am a new runner and have done a few 5Ks. I was set up for a 10K, but about a month ago, hiked a mountain with no real pain. I skipped my long sunday run, but went back to my regular run on Monday. about 1/2 thru, I felt a sharp pain in my right hamstring. I ran thru it, stretched and iced it. I went to my regular kickboxing class, and felt lots of pain in during hamstring curls and jumping jacks. Again, iced, elevated, and it felt better. I tried to run, and no way! It was so painful. Everytime I try to run, it's the same thing, intense pain, limping home.


I've been reading about it, now realizing that I needed to rest it more than a couple of days, but my question is: how long should I rest it? I hate not running, it's making me depressed! I really wanted to do my first 1/2 marathon in late sept. now that doesn't seem very likely.  Should I use the elliptical for cross training and skip kickboxing for a while? This really sucks!

  • Damien Howell Legend 312 posts since
    Feb 27, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Aug 23, 2011 10:31 AM (in response to jginter)
    Re: Hamstring injury

    You should do a period of relative rest long enough for the tear to heal with a scar.  Depending on the severity or degree of the tear it can be from 6 to 12 weeks for the tear to reach 80% of pre-injury strength.  Kick boxing it particularly challenging to hamstring muscles.  Be careful about stretching it out.  Take a look at Should you stretch it out.

    Damien Howell PT, DPT, OCS

  • JamesJohnsonLMT Legend 1,282 posts since
    Aug 23, 2009
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Aug 23, 2011 10:35 AM (in response to jginter)
    Re: Hamstring injury

    I would put a hold on the kick-boxing for now, and cut back on faster  running or climbing/hiking of any kind right now. Light jogging and  light walking should be no problem, and will keep the circulation up so  your hammies can heal. A mild case of hamstring strain can take a few  days to a few weeks, if you do not aggravate the condition further.


    I  generally do enough speedwork during the year to cause nagging  hamstring pain. If I back off on the speedwork, and work on the  hamstrings directly with manual pressure, the pain recedes. Last year I  trained right up to a scheduled marathon with nagging hamstring pain  that would force me to shorten my stride during faster running. Even the  day before, on the way to my event, I had that pain. I massaged it with  one hand while driving (driving is especially hard on the right  hamstring), and ran a successful marathon the next day with no pain, one  of my fastest, and a boston qualifier. Temporary relief is possible, even within a relatively aggressive schedule.


    When a nagging hamstring returned after really intense  speedwork lately, I was able to complete a 20 mile run last weekend  with only a couple twinges of pain in the hamstring (miles 9+16), and no  limping or after-effects. On balance, my hamstrings actually hurt less after that long slow run, even a couple days after when post-exercise  soreness is typically at its worst, and no pain at all as I write this.  Yet, just two miles of tough running can irrititate my hamstrings if I  push too hard. The difference is the intensity level. One heals, the  other hurts. Another important point is to avoid sitting directly on the  part of the hamstring that is hurting, or anywhere that impedes  circulation. After a number of years, I am getting pretty good at  balancing intensity with recovery, so please take my experience as an  important lesson for handling hamstring strain.


    Meanwhile,  you can work on your own as successfully as I have, by learning how to  self-massage the hammies. Some use a foam roller for this, but at least  initially, I recommend using your hands to locate the trouble spots in  the hamstring, because you can probably feel them with your fingers. The  spots that need work are usually a bit firmer or rubbery, and feel  different from the rest of the muscle in that they do not appear to be  relaxed tissue. Often, there will be more pain when you press there,  even a lot of pain when pressed. Let your fingers slowly sink into these  spots (sitting on raised fingers works easier), so that the pain and  tension feel slightly relieved by this pressure. As the circulation  slows in the compressed tissue, the tension should slowly melt away with  it. This technique is called "ischemic compression," and puts tense  tissue temporarily to sleep. THe response to the pressure will be  increased blood flow when the pressure is removed. You want to release  the pressure after several seconds to allow the tissue to "breathe,"  which will reduce the chance of cramping or further damage. The idea is  to increase vasodilation by forcing the muscle to adapt to  vasoconstriction. Increased blood flow + less intense exercise = faster  recovery. Good luck!

  • how2runfast Legend 207 posts since
    Sep 21, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Sep 10, 2011 1:49 PM (in response to jginter)
    Hamstring injury

    I would second James' advice. Using a foam roll has worked for me on several occaisions when I had a minor hamstring pull or tightness.


    Here the link to a post that I wrote about it.


    You’ve Pulled Your Hamstring - Now What?


    Boston Marathon Finisher

    How 2 Run Fast

    Follow me on Twitter

    Albany (NY) Times Union Runners Blog

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