Another hamstring tendinopathy update

I’ve been away from the blog for a bit… A few things have happened and I’ve just needed some time away from here for a bit. I love my blog but sometimes I need a break rather than share everything.

I’m ready to give some updates now though. I’ve missed writing and I’ve missed my little corner of the Internet.

So, how is my hamstring? Well, it’s still not fixed. This injury is probably one of the worst I’ve had. I mean, I probably think this for all the injuries I’ve had but seriously this one is a real bitch.

Normally what happens with the (bigger) injuries I have is that they stop me running and I get frustrated with not being able to run. I do everything in my power to speed the recovery up… from physios, to ice packs, to strength training.

I then usually start running a little bit too soon, and this then re-aggravates the injury and I’m set back again. Rest is invariably always best. THIS injury however is something else. I’ve rested for seven weeks and it doesn’t feel that much better. There have been times where it’s felt just as bad. And I say “bad”, what I mean is uncomfortble and a bit naggy. Not painful but ever present and THERE.

I’ve been good and stayed well away from running. I’ve read a lot online, took the advice of my physio and been rehabbing as best as I can. However, some weeks one exercise will feel fine (like the lying hamstring curl, for example) and then another week I’ll do that exercise and suddenly it’s aggravated things and it’s like I’m back to square one.

It is so frustrating. But I’m very good in documenting what’s going on so I can see where the patterns are and work out when to push and when to back off.

So that’s what I’ve been doing. I only do exercises now that in no shape or form generate the discomfort that I feel when the injury is bad. Previously I read in several sources to push through this discomfort – you need to stress and strengthen the tendon. But actually that hasn’t worked for me. It just makes it worse.

I’m going to share what I’ve found but please remember I’m not qualified in any shape or form in any sort of advice giving capacity. This is just what I’ve found and I want to share in case anyone might grab some glimmer of useful information. The exercises that seem to work without niggling the hamstring at all are:

Hip thrusts – these are by far the best. You can go heavy on the weights or high on the reps and it works the glutes without isolating the hamstrings. This has never caused me any sort of hamstring pain/discomfort.

Glute kickbacks – straight leg, straght back, no bending at all. I stand one foot on a raised platform and gently push back my leg behind me focusing purely on my glutes. Yes the hamstrings do some work but it’s primarily the glute.

Single/double leg bride – this has worked consistently well during the begginning, but it’s less effective now because I’ve grown a lot stronger. Hip thrusts are better now

I avoid at all costs: deadlifts, squats, sled pushes (they started well but then went badly), lying (and seated) hamstring curls… basically anything that isolates my hamstrings.

So yeah. Not a lot really. But I’ve done a couple of tiny runs and though it hasn’t felt amazing, it’s felt better. Different to prevous injuries I’ve had where I wait to start running until it all feels good (after a few too eager false starts), this injury requires a gradual approach. Perhaps even a run-walk strategy.

The high hamstring tendon is VERY sensitive and going out straight away doing 3 miles would be unwise. Normally that’s what I’d do. Anything less than 3 miles I wouldn’t see the point, but I’ve been very much dressed down in the ego department. I will be sensible. I won’t rush this.

Yes I only have 12 weeks until the Chicago Marathon, but if I want to be anywhere near being able to line-up at the start I need to approach this carefully.

I’m trying to ignore the people telling me the 7+ months they’ve dealt with this injury. I’m trying to keep positive. I’m doing my very best not to panic. I just hope my strategy works.

What’s been your worst injury?

Do you read about injuries online? This has been both helpful and unhelpful.

8 thoughts on “Another hamstring tendinopathy update

  1. It sounds like you are being really sensible- and all of your documenting will help work out what helps and what doesn’t too. Run/walk sounds sensible too when you do start again to give it a bit of a break and ease in more gently.
    The issue I have with my hip is the worst one as it can come from no-where, although yoga has helped massively with this. When it happens though, it hurts all of the time and it’s hard to get in a comfy position sitting or laying down so it is pretty constant when it’s there, and as I haven’t got a 100% answer from a physio as to what it is I am still in the dark a bit and just think I am better at noticing the early signs to stop it getting bad.

    • The body is so complex isn’t it? I think several physios could look at you and all say something else. So many different factors involved. It’s good that you have yoga to help!

  2. I’m now on what my physio says is a 6 month lay-off due to muscle imbalances/tension… its the longest i’ve been out since taking up running again 7 years ago, and no coincidence is after running my first two marathons at Portsmouth and Paris this year.

    I’m trying to be philosophical about it, and it has certainly massively increased my interest/awareness of looking after yourself outside of running – stretching/rolling etc. When I’m able to run again I’ll not be running through pain, and will be combining with yoga/stretching etc. I’ve just discovered Yin Yoga – and think it combines well with running.

    • Oh blimey, 6 months is a long time. But the body is a stubborn thing isn’t it? It takes time to readjust if you’ve been a certain way for so long.
      It definitely teaches us a lot about recovery and repair and how to look after ourselves when we’re injury-free!

  3. My worst injury is definitely the hamstring/groin injury from last year that the physio didn’t really know what to do with it. In the end simply doing nothing fixed it! You’re being so sensible with your injury and I know it’s super frustrating
    Rebecca recently posted…Back to Breakfast Club!My Profile

  4. I’m really sorry to hear that this has lingered for so long. I know that must be frustrating. It sounds like you are doing the best you can to manage it and recover. Sending you healing thoughts!

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