Recovering from a Hamstring Injury

Part of the reason I didn’t post anything on the blog the first few weeks of the year was that I injured my hamstring a few days after Christmas and haven’t had anything running related to write about.  It’s one of the worst injuries I’ve had, which makes some sense because the hamstring is a large muscle group.  I’m still not running yet, but I wanted to talk about how I’ve been rehabilitating my injury, in case someone out there is dealing with a similar issue.

My Injury: Like most of my injuries, I didn’t hurt my hamstring while running.  It happened when I got down too low in a split during a very competitive “guys vs girls” split contest with Mike’s family, lol.  When it was my turn, I started to slide down, but my socks slipped on the floor and I ended up in the lowest split of my life – and I heard something pop near my hip.

I knew I was in trouble when I couldn’t get up, but hoped that the pain would go away in a few days.  When it didn’t, I got on Google and quickly figured out that I had pulled my hamstring and had a grade 2 hamstring strain (grade 1 goes away in a few days, grade 3 presents with bruising under the skin), which would take 4-8 weeks to heal.

Week 1

  • Symptoms: I was in a lot of pain this week and limping quite a lot
  • Treatment: Ice several times a day for 20 minutes (I bought an ice wrap, which is a neoprene sleeve with slots for ice packs), compression, occasional aspirin
  • I heavily limited my physical activity this week – my only exercise was a short hike on Wednesday and a hot yoga class on Saturday, which was probably ill-advised since I couldn’t do most of the poses.

Week 2

  • Symptoms: No pain while walking, but still not able to handle anything rigorous.  I went back to work this week and was surprised to find that my hamstring ached after sitting all day.  I realized that it felt better when I took frequent standing breaks.
  • Treatment: Some compexing (electro-stimulation), light stretching, warm baths to aid circulation and soothe the sore muscle
  • I did little exercise in the beginning of the week, then started doing some yoga and took a spin class towards the end of the week.  Everything felt okay.0124161150

Week 3

  • Symptoms: felt a LOT better, no pain while walking or sitting.
  • I did yoga nearly everyday and went to spin twice.  I tried running towards the end of the week for just 10 minutes, but had to stop after 5 because my hamstring hurt.

Week 4

  • Symptoms: no pain, nearly able to touch my toes without pain.
  • I bumped up my physical activity: 2X yoga, 2X spin, stairmaster and pool running.  I managed to run one mile on Saturday, but my form definitely suffered because hamstring wasn’t 100%.

I’ll continue to cross-train (yoga, spin and pool running) and try running every couple of days – just a mile or two.  If it hurts, I’ll back off immediately and cross-train for a few days and then try again.  Once I can run a few miles without pain, I’ll slowly build running days and mileage.  Hamstring injuries are prone to re-injury (happens to football players all the time), so I’m going to be especially careful about building back up to normal running levels.  I’d rather take my time getting healthy and enjoy running once I do, than come back too fast and deal with a chronic injury for the rest of my life.

Anyone else dealt with a grade 2 hamstring strain before? How long did it take to completely heal?

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One thought on “Recovering from a Hamstring Injury

  1. Pingback: 2016: The Year the Honeymoon Ended – sneaker therapy

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