The hamstring is made up of three muscles that originate at the ischial tuberosity, run along the back of the leg, and connect with bone just below the knee. When you run, the job of the hamstring is to extend your hips and flex your knees. When that functionality is disrupted, it may be a hamstring strain.
Hamstring strains are common for many runners. Chronic hamstring tightness can easily happen to people who spend a lot of time sitting, like at desk jobs.
So, if you’re chubby and you sit a lot this is for you.
Causes of a hamstring strain
The repetitive motion of running can cause hamstrings to tighten, especially on runs with little to no variation, like on a treadmill or flat continuous road.
Hamstring pulls, a sudden tear in the belly of the muscle, are rare for long-distance runners. They are more common for sprinters. For longer distance chubby runners, hamstring strains, are more common. These are a result of micro-tears that subsequently develop scar tissue. And this can lead to chronic stiffness and discomfort.
Hamstring strains can be hard to deal with because they’re typically not bad enough to stop you from running. Most runners with hamstring strains find that complete rest doesn’t help the issue subside., and Some find that a little light running can ease symptoms because of increased blood flow.
Chubby runners should be aware, putting too much weight on your hamstring can cause muscle injury. Overstriders experience hamstring strains. The longer the stride, the higher your feet are off the ground, and consequently, the harder you land.
If you have weak hips and glutes, that can be problematic for your hammies. Your body will shift some of its work to the hamstrings. Regular stretching and flexibility work on your hamstrings will reduce your chances of developing tightness.
A hamstring strain is typically the result of:
- Pushing your body too hard
- Not listening to your body when it’s in pain
Proximal hamstring strains will hurt when running. This is exacerbated if you’re running uphill or doing speedwork. And hamstring pain doesn’t typically affect other areas of your leg.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “your doctor will check for swelling and points of tenderness along the back of your thigh. The location and intensity of your pain can help determine the extent and nature of the damage.
Your doctor might also move your injured leg into a variety of positions to help pinpoint which muscle has been injured and if you also have any ligament or tendon damage.”
Hamstring strain treatment
For hamstring strains, experts recommend the following:
- Ice the area 4 – 6x a day for 15 minutes within the first two days
- Stretch gently a few times a day
- Stretch your hamstrings by lying on your back and not by standing up
Ease out of hamstring strain
Hamstring strains respond best to lowered intensity and reduced mileage until you get things under control. Over the long term, as you strengthening your hamstrings it should allow a return to normal training.
Hamstring strain surgery
Hamstring surgery is rare but not unheard of, and it is used only to repair significant tears or ruptures. If that’s your problem, trust us, you’ll know it.
Depending on the severity of the strain, expect a healing time of anywhere from 3 – 8 weeks.
Prevention of hamstring strain
The number one thing to do to prevent hamstring injuries is strength training to make your glutes (butt muscles) stronger. The stronger your glutes are, the more they’ll protect the hamstring to avoid injury. Try exercises such as jump squats and lunges.