T Nation

Long Term Hamstring Pain


For the past two years I've been dealing with an incredibly frustrating hamstring issue. Quick back story, I ran Track and Field in High School and my Senior year I suffered a bad pull in my right hamstring at the start of the season. I was forced to take two months off, and ran with a partially healed hamstring for Subdistricts, Districts then State. I ran with compressions and a thigh wrap for the races to support my leg. In my final race I retweaked it and ever since I haven't been able to sprint the same.

It just will not heal! It's been frustrating me to no end. I took up a heavier lifting schedule to compensate for my lack of running in college, and despite holding up doing ANYTHING else, heavy deads, squats of all kinds, jumps. I've taken my dead to 465 and my squat to 330 (yes I definitely neglect the lift), yet the moment I sprint it cramps up HARD like a pull. The pain is rather specific, from this picture I'd guess 2/3rds up the bicep femoris in this pic.

I've tried multiple times to rehab it with little success. I've tried targeting it with one legged stability ball hamstring bridges, straight legged deads, stretching, etc. I've even eased into sprinting but it never seems to get better, I suspect I've modified my form to emphasize front side mechanics to over recruit my quads to compensate. I can go quite fast with it holding up fine, maybe 85%. I've even pulled my left hamstring while sprinting, to have it heal up while my right hamstring stays the same.

It's maybe my 3rd attempt now to try and rehab it. I"m doing one legged stability ball bridges to target my hamstring, stretching... Not that I have much hope it'll do much. The only thing I'm doing differently this time is adding a steady volume of hamstring targeted running drills. I've found that when doing buttkickers and similar movements I can trigger that same cramping sensation I get while sprinting without creating enough "damage" to feel fine using the leg the next day. I'm hoping maybe the movement pattern just needs work and maybe this could help. I don't even know at this point.

I will take ANY help! Thanks in advance.


Hi there. I’m a student physio and I remember a very interesting story we were told about a well known footballer here in the UK (Michael Owen) who had long term issues with his hamstring. The physios in his team couldn’t do anything for him and he kept injuring it. Eventually he went to an orthopaedic surgeon who specialised in hamstring injuries. The surgeon did a very simple test (straight leg raise) and diagnosed the player with sciatica. Obviously the physios should have worked this one out early and were fired on the spot.

My point is your hamstring issue MAY be neurological rather than muscular and it is always worth seeing a professional sports physiotherapist/orthopaed in instances like this. It might not be of neurological origin but until you get it tested properly you won’t know (just because it might ‘feel’ muscular is not a good indication).