Chronic Hamstring problem

....getting desperate...want to be able to run

4 messages
03/06/2009 at 15:30

Hi all

Looking to see if any of you have relevant knowledge or experience to do with my problem as I sooooooo want to be able to run again.

In March I developed an instability injury whilst running in snow: trying too hard to stay up and keep going, my right hamstring "cracked" and suddenly I fell sharp pain at the top near the bottom (right leg).

After a bit of resting it almost went away until trying a physio exercise (badly clearly) woke this up again a month later. Since then it has been building up. I tried 2 full weeks of rest, it made no difference.

My phyio(s) think that I have very complicated legs but in any case this one seems to be turning into what, I have been told, is tendinopathy. Typical symptom: sore when I start running (top of right hamstring near buttock), then it eases off then it comes back with a vengeance and pulls on all the other muscles in the leg until the whole tight is useless, buttock not happy, calf, achilles heel not happy... and I limp home.
Up till now I have been able to cycle (thankfully) but can not run more than 45/50mns and can not go fast. Recently I tried stretching my hamstring half way through a run and it has allowed me to finish my 45 mns run without limping and at time go up to 50mns.

Last night it kicked in at the end of a strong spin session and it has been uncomfortable ever since. I know if I run tonight I will be really bad. Physio is trying to organise a joint appointment with a chiro so that they can put their heads together.

The fact that it kick in during spin is a further worry as usually it stays clear of cycling activities. Had to bin any racing this year and I am getting really desperate to find something I could do to help.... can not face not being able to run nor cycle.

Physio has mentioned cortison injection as last resort but I think that will put me out of action (inc cycling) for at least 4 weeks.

Sorry about the long story but there is a lot of knowledge and injuries experience on this forum so I thought that some people might have relevant guidance?

03/06/2009 at 16:15

I've been having hamstring problems for a while (since about last November) which don't sound too dissimilar to yours.  They started at the top of the leg near the buttock and with a bit of rest and a bit of nursing I thought I'd seen the back of it until my hamstring "went" (albeit lower down in the back of the thigh) in a race in March.

 I saw a physio and he said that my hamstrings were weak compared to my quads (v common for runners he said) and without some work on them I would always be susceptible to pulls, especially when tired such as at the end of races.  On his recommendation I went down the gym and asked for a programme of leg stregthening exercises which I've been on for six weeks or so now. I still feel the odd twinge but my legs do feel more robust now and I've started to notice that they feel stronger when doing hill repeats for example.

I've also tried to do more stretching as I am woefully inflexible (again, very common for rummers I'm told)

 You can find details of leg stregthening exercises for runners on the internet but if you can find someone who can deal with you in person that would be better I think.

 Hope this helps.

03/06/2009 at 16:25

Thanks Next2nuthin

Interesting to hear your experience. I am actually very flexible which in a way does not help as physio think there is no problem there when it is in fact just the way I am: long hams from years of gymnastics/ dancing/ martial arts.

My physio first thought that my hamstrings were getting overloaded due to weak glutes. I have a different problem with the left hamstring: it fires in the middle of it when overloaded (at end of long rides with big hills and headwind). So I did weeks/ months of glutes exercises which at time I thought were making things worse...even physio as agreed that they are not the solution. I keep doing my glutes exercises 3 times a week for form but not to solve my problem.  I seem to be very hamstring biased and there has been a thought that my cycling has a fair bit to do with that (never had running chronic injuries before taking up cycling 3 years ago) so we have tweaked slightly the position on the bike so that the hamstrings are  a wee bit less taxed.

But I tell you what, next time I see the physio I will mention the quads idea

And yet thank god I have the bike as doing nothing would drive me nuts and I don't swim (doggy paddle is my style.......for a cat.....the shame!! ;o)   )

03/06/2009 at 17:11

Hope you manage to sort out your problem soon.

 I've also tended to use the bike (a stationary one at the gym rather than the real thing) when nursing my injured hamstring and whilst it is mind numbingly boring - worse even than the treadmill I find - it does seem to maintain a pretty good level of fitness so that you don't feel you've lost too much when you can get back to running.


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