How To: Running With A Hamstring Injury

If you have a minor hamstring injury, read about "How To: Running With A Hamstring Injury". Hamstring injuries vary from a mild strain to an immobilizing rupture of the hamstring which requires crutches and sometimes surgery. If you have bruising and/or cannot walk without pain you should stop running and immediately see a doctor. If your hamstring is just a minor discomfort and there is no swelling or severe pain, you can probably keep running with a hamstring injury. 

In order to learn how to run with a hamstring injury, you will need the following:

  • To be seen by a doctor
  • Proper running shoes
  • A heating pad
  • Ice
  • A compression brace (optional)
  1. Heat your hamstring. Heating your hamstring before running can help loosen it up. This will make running with a hamstring injury easier and less painful. heat your hamstring for 10 minutes before your run.
  2. Run on a soft surface. Running on asphalt or pavement is going to cause more pain for your hamstring. Running on a more forgiving surface will help take some of the pressure off of your hamstring. Try turf or an even bark trail. Stay away from hills and don't do any speed work until your hamstring heals.
  3. Compress your hamstring. Some runners like to wear a compression brace around their thigh while running with a hamstring injury. A compression brace will reduce swelling and bleeding in your muscles. A compression brace should not be worn when you are not running as you don't want your hamstring to rely on it (unless your doctor tells you otherwise) .
  4. Stretch. Stretch your hamstring after you heat and stretch it after your run. Make sure you are not bouncing; you do not want to overstretch your hamstring, which can cause further damage. Stretch lightly, but don't stretch if it hurts your hamstring. For the best hamstring stretch, have a friend help you. Lie on your back with your legs out straight. Have your friend raise one leg to a 90 degree angle (or as far as it can go) and hold it for 60 seconds. Slowly bring the leg down to the ground and repeat on the other side.
  5. Cross-train. Hamstring injuries often occur because of overuse. Try cross-training at least once a week. Find an activity that is less impact than running. Try swimming or aqua-jogging.
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