The Dreadful Hamstring Injury
How many times have you been on a run, and all you can feel is an annoying pain in the back of your leg? The injury never seems to go away — even with some time off from the sport you love.
That annoying pain very likely could be a hamstring injury. Hamstring injuries are a very common injury in runners, and if severe enough can even be debilitating.
The hamstrings are made up of three muscles -semimembranosus, semitendinosus, and biceps femoris. The major role of these three muscles is to bend your knee, and helps out with swinging your leg backwards This is obviously very important movement in running and biking; and despite what people may think, muscles become damaged when they are being stretched, not when they are shortening.
One of the ultimate culprits to repetitive hamstring injuries is a lack of strength in the core and gluteal complex- buttock musculature. Runners with these weaknesses have a tendency to arch their lower back while they are running. Arching your low back automatically shifts your pelvis forward and unfortunately, a forward shifted pelvis increases the stretch in your hamstring muscles when you are swinging your leg forwards during your running stride.
1. Stand up tall, and keep a normal arch in your low back. Do a forward leg swing with a straight leg. Notice the range that you are able to go through.
2. Stand with an exaggerated arch in your lower back (stick your buttock behind you as far as you can). Now swing your leg forwards. Notice how little range you have, and some of you may even feel an uncomfortable pull in your hamstrings.
Ironically, usually the first thing that athletes do when they have any muscle injury is stretch it. However, as you can see from the example above this is counterproductive. In order to resolve the actual problem what you need to do is strengthen the weak muscles, and regain control of the pelvis.
I would be pleased to assess your particular problem and give you more information on what type of exercises would be best for you.
Bkin, Doctor of Chiropractic
ART, Medical Acupuncture, Graston Technique Provider
Titleist Performance Institute – Certified Golf and Fitness Instructor