THE CLINIC: After Months of Prep, a Hamstring Pull

Tue, 4 Sept. 2012 - 11:45 p.m. MT
Credit: ARA Staff - American Running Association

QUESTION:
I was up to 50 miles a week training for a marathon when, with three weeks to go, I pulled a hamstring playing soccer. This was a week ago, and it is not healing. Should I attempt the race or play it safe and drop out? How do I know for sure if I am road-ready?
 
Glen Sabien
Barker Creek, MI
 
ANSWER:
For starters, you are trained. Nothing you do now will improve your marathon time so just focus on healing. If you can't run without a limp two days prior to the race, forget it. Ice the hamstring, wrap it up regularly and stretch frequently. Lay in a doorway with the affected leg up the wall. Next wiggle your buttocks up as close to the wall as possible; you'll feel a stretch in the pulled area.
 
You should do some isometric strengthening as well. Stand with your affected leg heel under an immovable object like the bathroom sink cabinet or a car. Push your heel up against the object as hard as you can without pain. Your knee should be slightly bent, with you facing away from the object. Hold for 10 seconds, but don't hold your breath. Rest for 10 seconds and repeat as tolerated.
 
You may bike ride, and walking backwards is a good way to stay loose if forward walking is painful. Swimming can also keep you fit without exacerbating the hamstring.
 
Jennifer Clark, MD
New York, NY


(RUNNING & FITNEWS® July/ August 2008 • Volume 26, Number 4)

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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.


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