HIGH HAMSTRING STRAIN: The Runners Nightmare
- Painful to sit down?
- Does it hurt on the “sit bone?”
- Painful to run, but often loosens up after 15 minutes?
These are signs of a possible high hamstring injury.
Hamstring injuries will limit the distance and speed you can run for months if you do not take the proper rehab approach.
The great news is rehab on this type of injury has been studied extensively and is very well understood. Now, the only thing standing between you and your running happiness is you.
What is a High Hamstring Strain?
If you read about the Adductor Strain, you will understand a High Hamstring Strain better.
It is the same thing but in a different muscle and tendon.
The hamstrings are on the backside of the thigh and start at the gluteal crease. This insertion into the “sit bone” is a prevalent site of injury with runners. Also known as High Hamstring Tendinopathy, this type of hamstring injury can take months to heal and can be extremely frustrating for all kinds of athletes.
What causes a High Hamstring Strain?
High Hamstring Strains happen the same way any other strain of the hip and leg happens: overuse, trauma, or over demand of the tissue.
If you want more on this, read the previous email on the Adductor Strain.
Hamstring injuries do have one thing unique about them, though. They are predictable in the fact that they become more probable the faster you run. Striders are a good example. I have had many runners come in saying their injuries begin after doing striders. I have nothing against striders, but the quick speed and broader range of motion are factors in hamstring injuries.
High Hamstring Strain Rehab
Hamstring Strain rehab programs are much better than they use to be, BUT it is essential to understand the type of injury that a “hammy” strain is.
Hamstring injuries are highly temperamental. They will flare up during rehab and when reintroduction yourself to running, so don’t get frustrated. Frustration and stopping a rehab program is the number one reason I have seen that causes runners to fail to recover.
I recommend the following exercise categories for our rehab programs.
- Multidirectional trunk stabilization
- Complex motions both unloaded and loaded
- Local eccentric hamstring exercises
- Hip mobility
- Change of direction drills
- Sprinting form instruction
One exercise you could have read about is the Nordic Hamstring Exercise. I have recommended it in many rehab programs, but I caution everyone about how intense these can be.
If you do it too early, you will hurt yourself. If you do too many reps and sets, you will hurt yourself. Here is our video on the Nordic Hamstring Exercise:
High Hamstring Strain Treatment Options
Here are some other treatments that can assist you in recovering from a Hamstring Strain:
- Active Release Technique
- Deep tissue massage
- Anti-inflammatory injections
- Chiropractic adjustments or mobilizations
- Strength training/rehab
- PRICE therapy
- Running gait training
- Inflammation/joint support supplements
It’s critical to rule out the possibility of lumbar disc referred pain or referred pain from an L5/S1 lumbar nerve root. This is easy to diagnose with a skilled clinician, yet often overlooked before starting care. See a qualified clinician to rule this out before beginning a hamstring rehab program.