Posted by Jim Dietz on February 26, 1999 at 09:19:50:
Hi! Last April, I tore my left hamstring during a 60 yard dash. I went through the usual therapy for the next four months, with the first 30 days on crutches. After that, I have been slowly returning to light jogging (up to 4.5 miles at a 10:00 minute pace) and strengthening exercises four times per week on my own. However, during the last 2 months, I have seen little improvement. Before the injury, I was running 5.5 miles two times per week at a 7 minute pace, and running half mile intervals at a 2:30 pace 2 times per week, by comparison. The left hamstring has a large knot that is best described as a goose egg under the skin, about four inches above the knee, and it tires quite easily. The area between the knot and my knee doesn't have any muscle mass. My left ankle also fatigues easily and I think it is because I'm have so much difficulty with a heal-toe stride. I am stretching before and after exercise, and my flexibility has almost returned to normal. The last time I saw the orthopedic specialist, he told me that as long as I continued to improve, to stay patient. Can you offer any advice as to ways to improve the chances of a return to running?
Thanks for the question. Hamstrings are usually poorly rehabed.The hamstring is a two joint muscle, it crosses both the hip and the knee. Across the knee, it functions as a transverse plane muscle - that means that the muscle controls tibial rotation at the knee while at the same time it controls, or decelerates hip flexion. So you have to combine these issues in order to rehab it. Work out initially by lunging and reaching in all three planes, add steps to the work out so that you have to decelerate greater forces. Then do jumping (take off on one leg, land on two) while reaching for the floor as you gain strength, and finally, hop - take off and land on the same leg, as you reach for the floor on landing. Eventually, you should be able to take 25# of weight in each hand, and hop on the injured leg as you drive the weights toward the floor decelerating them in the transverse plane specifically. All this before you run. Have fun!