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Pulled/Strained Muscles

I’m just looking for some info on how to recover quicker from muscle strains/pulls and in particular a hamstring injury.

Background info: Last week at my state track meet I pulled my hamstring during the first few steps of a 400 and proceeded to finish the event because it was a relay and I wasn’t about to let my team down. Now I have until this Saturday to recovery enough for a state open meet and hopefully qualify for New Englands. If anyone has any tips/tricks - I would greatly appreciate them.

-Ice definitely helps.
-Rest, do overdo anything.
-After a few days, do some type of movement. Nothing too extreme. Walk, or light jog if you can on a treadmill or something. Get a good sweat, get warmed up and do very light stretching.

I pulled my hamstring pretty bad a few years ago playing football. Couldn’t run at all for a few weeks. Took a few months to be able to do all the stretches I liked to do.

Do as much research as you can on different stretches. I highly recommend doing extra strength training on your hamstrings when they get better.

Also look into a foam roller and The Stick or MuscleTrac ( http://www.muscletrac.com/ )

Good luck.

Thanks a lot. I’ve been doing a bunch of foam roller work and other self myofascial release techniques and I really think they’ve been helping.

It may also be a good idea to do very light hamstring curls. This helps the tissue to heal in an organized fashion. Also as the others suggested, stretching is a good idea, but make sure it’s just in the pain-free range.

Hi,
I’ve begun having problems with light strains, and I would like some advice on how to avoid them. For the last three months I’ve been doing sprint training three times a week, and up until two weeks ago I didn’t have any problems, except sometimes needle-like pain across the quads during the last few sprints.

I assumed this was just lactic acid and finished those sessions. However, perhaps two weeks ago I pulled my left quad, quite lightly I think, since there wasn’t much pain after the first day. I applied RICE and avoided sprinting for two weeks. So, today I start sprinting again and right off the start in my first sprint I feel cramping in my left biceps femoris tendon and of course it’s pulled. I’ve applied RICE methodology here as well, and I only feel a light stretch so the strain is probably light, but I’m becoming afraid of doing more sprints. Funnily, I feel that my running technique has become better and that I take longer strides, and that this could be the reason for these strains.

I always warm up with jogging, plyometrics, hurdle jumping and several rounds of stretching (in total perhaps 30 minutes) before a sprinting session, and since I’ve pulled both sides of my leg I suppose that I don’t have a muscle imbalance between quads and hamstrings. I also do romanian deadlifts as part of my strength training routine, so the problem is probably not muscle weakness. I understand how to recover from the strains, but I would like advice on how to avoid them in the first place - is there anything I can do except avoiding sprints?

Anyone else ever noticed increased muscle strains/pulls during periods of dieting and or increased caffeine use? It seems like I’m always dehydrated and or underfed when it happens to me.

Roger, too long a stride is a major cause of chronic hamstring issues and if your injuries have corresponed with the lengthening of your stride then it’s a safe bet the stride is the problem.

The stride could very well have a role in this, and I will try to adjust it as wel as I can without losing speed. I’m also investing in a foam roller. Is there anything else I can do to prevent pulls? Do knee wraps or lycra shorts help (by limiting the muscles’ ROM and keeping them warm)?

[quote]Train4sport wrote:
It may also be a good idea to do very light hamstring curls. This helps the tissue to heal in an organized fashion. Also as the others suggested, stretching is a good idea, but make sure it’s just in the pain-free range.[/quote]

Don’t forget that the hamstring is a major hip extensor too. Hamstring curls are good very early in the re-hab process but you eventually have to start strengthening them in the actual mov’t that they do. Glute-ham raises, reverse hypers, RDL’s, one legged work…and all the others in between that allow for hip extension. keeping up with the foam rolling and stretching is good but make sure that you are also working on the mobility of the muscle. Static stretching just shows you the length of the muscle at rest. You have to re-teach the muscle what its optimal working length is and then also re-educate the timing of that muscle. Muscle injuries occur most often on change of speed, change in direction. Begin slowly on both of those and progressively increase intensity and volume but in a safe and organized fashion.

Roger, when you say you take longer strides, to what exactly are you referring? If you consciously lengthened your step length, then that could be a problem. A longer stride length should be a result of putting more force into the ground and thus travelling further in the unsupported phase, not from trying to take bigger steps.

Train4sport-
After suggestions from my coach, I consciously try to “pull” myself through the air, and it feels like I’m going further with every step now than before, and my arms also travel further now. I know that I have gained speed, and my coach has said that my technique has improved, but I don’t know whether the stride length is unnaturally long or not. A week ago, I tried sprinting again and really tried to keep my stride from getting too long and felt slower than usual.

When you say ‘pulling yourself through the air’, is it a ‘feel’ kind of thing referring to the unsupported phase, or are you stepping farther forward, and pulling yourself forward with the front leg(big source of hamstring pulls)?

If so, that is bad technique. When sprinting, your foot should strike as close to directly under your body as possible. The major drive should be pushing off the back leg, not pulling forward. Athlete’s Performance, owned by Mark Verstegen, teaches professional and world class athletes sprinting/running technique exactly this way.

Check your hip flexor ROM as well. Body works in a balance. If your hip flexors are tight and over dominant it will place you in an anteriorly rotated hip position. This will place the hamstrings in a “long, locked position” and also inhibit the glutes. Hamstrings being in the “long, locked” position will lead to increase pressure during eccentric loads, which is when hamstring strains occur the most. Also, with inhibited glute activity, the hamstrings take over excessive load for hip extension, which will cause increased stress on the hamstrings as well. It is important to treat and rehab the hamstrings themselves, but you must also incorporate hip flexor soft tissue/ROM work, along with glute activation exercises as well. Also, if the strain is more medially on the hamstring, you should look at groin/adductor soft tissue restrictions, and if it is more laterally, check IT Band soft tissue restrictions.

On a side note, those who have experienced hamstring strains are 6-8 times more likely to re-injure that same hamstring.

Hope this helps!
-LH

[quote]BulletproofTiger wrote:
Anyone else ever noticed increased muscle strains/pulls during periods of dieting and or increased caffeine use? It seems like I’m always dehydrated and or underfed when it happens to me.[/quote]

Yes. I’m convinced caffeine has something to do with it but I haven’t looked into any of the science behind the possibility.

I used to strain just about everything but being well hydrated and stretching alot has kept me strain free for a while now.

I’m just getting back to full speed after a mild 2nd degree hamstring pull. RICE is the way to go. I did a little foam rolling and light, within comfortable range of motion, stretching and upper body work the first week and started to slowly add leg extensions and leg curls the following week.

I was also able to do light heavy bag work but no bike or any other type of conditioning for the first two weeks. I started testing my hamstring with controlled loads and lightly pushed my range of motion and sport specific movements on week three.

The advice I got from everyone I talked to about the pull was to go slow and don’t push too hard too soon.

Good luck with your rehab!

[quote]BulletproofTiger wrote:
Anyone else ever noticed increased muscle strains/pulls during periods of dieting and or increased caffeine use? It seems like I’m always dehydrated and or underfed when it happens to me.[/quote]

I have the same issue BpT. I start dieting and getting down in the low single digits as far as bodyfat goes and my recovery must just go rock bottom, because I always seem to get injured. I think part of my main problem during dieting periods is not so much the lack of proper nutrients, but lack of appropriate sleep, since I have such a hard time falling and staying asleep. Yet I continue to lift hard and heavy as possible.

Currently I’m battling a pulled glute muscle, which is playing havoc with my lower back. It’s not getting any worse, but I need to find a foam roller or piece of PVC pipe here in Korea to help me recover faster.

v/r

Gremlin

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[quote]cprio12 wrote:
I’m just looking for some info on how to recover quicker from muscle strains/pulls and in particular a hamstring injury.

Background info: Last week at my state track meet I pulled my hamstring during the first few steps of a 400 and proceeded to finish the event because it was a relay and I wasn’t about to let my team down. Now I have until this Saturday to recovery enough for a state open meet and hopefully qualify for New Englands. If anyone has any tips/tricks - I would greatly appreciate them.[/quote]

Here’s a tip; sit it out. Seriously.

Indoor track season doesn’t mean shit, it’s like preseason. Just take the time to get healthy.

Edit: This IS still February, right? Sorry, my brains not keeping up with the seasons. I guess you’re in high school, thus the early wrap up of outdoor season.

In 2008 I pulled 4 hamstrings and each time I felt ready to go again with in 2 weeks. I probably would have been ready had I waited 3 weeks. In the past when I had pulled hammies it always took about 6 weeks. The difference, I think, was a heavy amount of rolling on it. Foam roll/PVC pipe.