CLINIC: Right-Side Woes That Just Won’t Quit

Tue, 6 Dec. 2011 - 12:09 a.m. MT
Credit: ARA Staff - American Running Association

QUESTION:
My long-time problem is on the right side of my leg and at any given time involves one or more of a sore hip, hurt knee, or pulled hamstring. My two main sports are running and soccer. I play soccer about six months of the year, and have run ten marathons, but none in the past three years. It was then that I originally pulled my right hamstring playing soccer. That same summer, while marathon training, I pulled the same hamstring again, and then a month later developed a knee injury on the right side. In the two years since, I have had problems off and on, all on my right side.
 
I have gone through a few good months here and there, even running a half-marathon race, but for the past six months I have really been battling. I barely get going, starting, say, with right hip problems, then over the next two months pulling a hamstring, to two months later suffering painful knee problems. I went to a sports doctor and had some physical therapy. While this was effective to strengthen my hip, I still had problems with the right leg. Currently I have been off running and soccer for two months. The knee is getting better; I can do some light biking, but that is about it. Just wondering what might help.
 
Mark Hovan
Stillwater, MN

ANSWER:
I suggest you have your feet evaluated for hyperpronation by an orthotist or podiatrist and it would probably be beneficial for you to concentrate on strengthening your quadriceps and gluteus muscles. You may need to do more rehab exercises with a physical therapist.
 
You need to focus specifically on the gluteus maximus as I am guessing that this muscle is not working very well and when you extend your hip you are using your hamstring and thus you are overusing this muscle. The physical therapist should be able to use biofeedback to help get the gluteus to start working better. Also, the knee pain is most likely coming from a malalignment of the kneecap on the femur and your inner quadriceps is probably not working well. Further PT can address this as well.
 
David Weiss, MD
 
ANSWER:
"Pulled" hamstrings that last greater than eight weeks fall into the "season-ending" injury category. Considering that your entire right side is affected, there may be a mechanical underlay to your injuries. First, an MRI is needed to look at the hamstring. Next, a thorough lower back exam is warranted as often times, injuries to the lower back (even if there is no specific lower back pain) can cause hamstring problems. Finally, an analysis of your running mechanics may prove helpful. Often an exaggerated stride length may lead to hamstring injury.
 
Robert S. Gotlin, DO
 
 
(RUNNING & FITNEWS®  February / March 2007 • Volume 25, Number 2)
 
DISCLAIMER: The medical information on this site is provided as an information resource only and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. This information is not intended to be patient education, does not create any patient-physician relationship, and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment. Please consult your health care provider before making any healthcare decisions or for guidance about a specific medical condition.
 
The American Running Association (ARA) and its Clinic Advisory Board disclaims responsibility and shall have no liability for any consequences suffered as a result of your reliance on the information contained in this site. ARA does not endorse specifically any test, treatment, or procedure mentioned on this site.


Latest News
Luxury Cruise Fitness: It Can Be Done
Luxury Cruise Fitness: It Can Be Done

Aug 02 1:02 p.m.

Article by: Jeff Venables

Comrades Ultra - Loose and Fun = Success
Comrades Ultra - Loose and Fun = Success

Jun 04 12:26 p.m.

Article by: Rick Ganzi, M.D.

Young Milers in Anaheim CA love running
Young Milers in Anaheim CA love running

May 15 3:03 p.m.

Article by: Jeff Venables

Catch Them If You Can
Catch Them If You Can

Apr 08 7:22 p.m.

Article by: Jeff Venables

New Roles of Sports Chiropractic
New Roles of Sports Chiropractic

Feb 21 11:15 a.m.

Article by: Jeff Venables