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Thread: Hamstring Recovery

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    Hamstring Recovery

    I have had an hamstring niggle on and off for while which I could manage but became sore after a couple of races around the backend of the year and was subsequently getting worse when training so I stopped running to rest it. However, after about 7 weeks of rest and strengthening exercises (recommended by the Physio) there is no improvement if I try and go for a short run 10 minutes or so it is very sore for a few days afterwards including walking, to be honest it seems to be getting worst if anything . I was hoping after 7 weeks things would be improving by now. Just wondered what is the typical period of time people have had to wait to recover from hamstring injury or see signs of recovery? Getting frustrated that it does not seem to be improving

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    Master mr brightside's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slaven View Post
    I have had an hamstring niggle on and off for while which I could manage but became sore after a couple of races around the backend of the year and was subsequently getting worse when training so I stopped running to rest it. However, after about 7 weeks of rest and strengthening exercises (recommended by the Physio) there is no improvement if I try and go for a short run 10 minutes or so it is very sore for a few days afterwards including walking, to be honest it seems to be getting worst if anything . I was hoping after 7 weeks things would be improving by now. Just wondered what is the typical period of time people have had to wait to recover from hamstring injury or see signs of recovery? Getting frustrated that it does not seem to be improving
    Which end does it hurt? If it hurts at one end or the other you might have connective tissue damage, for example where the muscle inserts into a tendon, or where there is a connection onto bone. All of that is presupposing the diagnosis you have gotten is correct. Are you going through the NHS? If you have connective tissue damage, about 4 months will see it healed enough to run on; but you have to build up very slowly, as it takes ages for changes to occur in connective tissue and seconds for it all to be undone leaving you back at square one.

    Assuming you have the correct diagnosis you are going the wrong way about it by strengthening the Hamstrings themselves. Standard rehab for this type of thing is to do Glutes Maximus recruitment exercises, as it is normally poor performance from this muscle that loads the Hamstrings up too much. Normally just recruitment exercises will do the trick and the glutes with strengthen up of their own accord as you run. Hitting the weights right off the bat will likely have you using your Hamstrings to do the work instead. Do you do Pilates? It is an ideal system for people with lazy glutes if that is your underlying problem.

    Lastly, and allow me to add that i have no qualifications in sports rehab, i would stretch your hamstrings- gently at first twice a day 4x30secs, then after a month or so get leaning into it. Stretching will inhibit the formation of nasty, tight scar tissue and the added length will help to remove the muscle's dominance.
    Can't climb for toffee...

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    Senior Member Travs's Avatar
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    Hello Slaven, I had something vaguely similar at the back end of last year, although it sounds like yours might be a little more serious, so wouldn't take what I say as gospel....

    I basically overstrained mine from a massive increase in mileage and racing distance, and it gave up on me half way through the Roaches race.

    I basically didn't run for a number of weeks, but I still trained almost every day, either cross trainer or cycling, but nothing too stressful. As mr bright side says, stretch it every day. Then every week or so I tried an easy run and if there was any strain at all I gave it another 5 days away from running.

    Eventually back to full strength and it's been fine since. I suspect yours is more problematic if you have gone 7 weeks. But just ensure it isn't stiffness and soreness from not training.

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    I'd proceed with caution I continued training on a hamstring niggle and it turned itself into a tendonosis. It's 6months since I've been on my bike, 8months since my last proper run and 1 and a half years since a race!

    Maybe pull back on the PT exercises let it settle then build it back up!

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    Cheers guys, yeah it hurts more behind the knee especially after sitting for a while or getting out of the car and trying to walk but the pain also shoots up the middle of the back of the leg. I have been stretching as suggested but was unsure how much to do as I heard too much stretching could make it worse and I do Pilates but just once a week. I am also doing other exercises which I believe should help Gluteus Maximus recruitment but need to review this as there might be better exercises I could do. Tried cycling which felt fine whilst cycling but I was very sore days after, similar to the short runs. I guess just need to be patient(which is very difficult ) and take it slowly by the sounds of it

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    Have you had a look at the Askling L protocol exercises and the Askling H test? As to whether or not your gluteal muscles are weak and/or not firing I would hope that a physio would assess these. But back to the start - recovery is all about the right diagnosis - are we sure it is a hamstring injury that is causing your problem? Pain behind the knee after sitting would not make me think of a hamstring injury unless there were other features that strongly suggested that diagnosis.

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    I'm very interested in this thread. As I have had a similar niggle. It first appeared last spring whilst training (upping the mileage & ascent / descent) for the JNLC. A nagging niggle at the rear of my Left thigh, directly above the knee. At that time it was particularly noticeable whilst laid flat on my back with my legs straight out. Rightly or wrongly (absolutely no medical qualifications or experience) I guessed it was an issue with the tendons at the lower end of the hamstring. Stretching seemed to ease it enough to continue training and a rolled-up pillow under the back of my knee allowed me to sleep on my back with the knee bent, trouble free. Absolutely no problems at all when out cycling - regular 60 milers at an easy pace.
    After completing the JNLC at a very steady pace (V65, so 24 hours) in August the issue subsided all through the autumn and Christmas.
    However, at the weekly interval session 2 weeks ago, after a particularly enthusiastic effort, it reappeared.
    Now the niggle is more noticeable with the knee bent, rather than with it straight. It is not noticeable when cycling seated but makes its presence felt ever so slightly when 'honking' out of the saddle.
    A new club member, who is a qualified physio and pilates instructor, is looking to put some suitable exercises together for me.
    I was a bit of an oddball until I was abducted by aliens; but I'm perfectly OK now!

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    Master mr brightside's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slaven View Post
    Cheers guys, yeah it hurts more behind the knee especially after sitting for a while or getting out of the car and trying to walk but the pain also shoots up the middle of the back of the leg. I have been stretching as suggested but was unsure how much to do as I heard too much stretching could make it worse and I do Pilates but just once a week. I am also doing other exercises which I believe should help Gluteus Maximus recruitment but need to review this as there might be better exercises I could do. Tried cycling which felt fine whilst cycling but I was very sore days after, similar to the short runs. I guess just need to be patient(which is very difficult ) and take it slowly by the sounds of it
    Pilates once a week is good, but you can still have lazy glutes. Too much or too aggressive stretching is bad in an acute stage. I think you need a second opinion on the diagnosis, did you go to the NHS for the first diagnosis? If you did, you need a second opinion from a private sports physio. Stop all your exercise aswell until you know exactly what you are dealing with, many on here can give you umpteen sob-stories of the kind of crap trying to run through an injury will land you in. The first think you need here is a cast iron reliable diagnosis.
    Can't climb for toffee...

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    Yeah went to a private Sports Physio he seems to know his stuff, I think I am doing all the right kind of stuff, but maybe being a bit too impatient and pushing the re-hab too hard although it did seem to get worse after the initial rest period when I stopped running altogether which was not what I was expecting. Sitting thing is worse when working, as the legs are kind of pushed under chair everything just stiffens up, but have foot stool at work now so this helps a bit. I have knocked the running on the head for now, too sore anyways

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    Given your pain levels and the fact you have been exercising on it a bit during the 7 weeks, i'd say you are going to have to consider yourself back at the beginning- 0 weeks in other words. What type of Glutes recruitment exercises are you doing? You should be lying on your front, fully relaxed, and practising tensing up each glute individually without any other muscles firing up, least of all your hamstrings; this is stage one. Stage 2 is isolation of the quads; so you tense Glute, Quad, release Quad, release Glute. Stage 3 is to add in a straight leg lift/lower after the tensing. You can go through a stage a week, but you must persist with each stage until you have it nailed like clockwork, if you rush on too much you'll be wasting your time. This is how we do it in our Pilates class, it's the most complicated but the most effective way. When you fire up your quads the function of your hamstrings are inhibited because they work in opposition to eachother to a certain extent, i can't remember the real name for it, but aswell as teaching your brain to fire your glutes it teaches it to relax your hamstrings at certain times. There are far more advanced exercises, but for now the most basic levels are what you ought to be doing. Like i said before- i'm not qualified in sports rehab and this only anecdotal at best, but this is what i'd be doing if it were me. Best of luck and be patient, see Davis' Law for models and further reading on how connective tissue responds to step changes in loading, as i suspect you have damage to connective tissue on the lower end of your hamstrings somewhere.
    Can't climb for toffee...

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