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Hamstring Pain in Runners

Upper Hamstring Pain from Running

Do you have upper hamstring pain by your “sit” bone?  Do you feel uncomfortable sitting on chairs or bleachers?  Is it excruciating to bend over?  Do you get a burning sensation around your “sit” bone?  Are you not able to run because of your glute/hamstring pain?  If any of these sound like you, keep reading…the sports medicine experts here at SSOR know how to help you.  We see a ton of runners at SSOR, many whom have had unsuccessful bouts of physical therapy.  Plus, we’re the best in the city at the mechanics of your injury and how to fix it.

The burning, aching, and discomfort is from scar tissue that has formed from your injury.  When scar tissue forms, it has blood vessels and nerves that develop to provide blood supply and innervation to the area.  Problem is that these new vessels and nerves shouldn’t be there.  As a result, they bring chemicals with them that are pain generators (it’s super boring stuff, but if you want to read more, look up Prostaglandin E2, Substance P, and Glutamate).   All of these chemicals are potential causes of pain and in order to fix it, you must break down the bad tissue.
Most runners try and treat this with what they know – stretching, foam rolling, deep tissue massage, chiropractic treatments/ART, heat balms, and maybe ice and/or heat.  Problem is, it’s not addressing the mechanics of the problem.  To treat tendinopathy like this, you have to do aggressive soft tissue mobilization and eccentric strengthening of the hamstring.  Particularly in females, they often have gluteal weakness, especially gluteus maximus weakness.  Why is that a problem?  Well, there are two reasons. One, the hamstrings are contracting when they shouldn’t be and they continue to “pull” on the sit bone where they attach and continue to aggravate it.  Think of someone constantly pulling on your shirt for your attention – same thing here.  This results in aberrant firing patterns of the hamstrings and glutes.  Two, the hamstrings are not the preferred hip extensor, the gluteus maximus is. The gluteus maximus is not just a key “braking” muscle, but a key “accelerator” muscle.  Just about every person that walks through our doors with this injury preferentially uses their hamstrings first, glutes second.  It has to be the exact opposite.  Yes, this even means people that are in really good shape and yes, this means the same people that say “I’ve been doing clamshells/bridges/lunges/squats, etc.”  We’ll bet you’re doing them wrong.   We can prove it to you in just a few seconds.
Once you re-learn to use your butt the right way, THEN we can do the exercises that you’re already doing (that you think you are doing to help, when in reality, they might not be!).  Only then will we get you back to running with our return to running program.
We encourage you to stop “dealing” with your pain.  Please stop hoping it will clear up and get better.  Stop continuing to do treatments that don’t work.  Give us a call – we get results-oriented runners results quickly!  It’ll just take a visit or two for you to realize the experience at SSOR is truly one-of-a-kind.  Remember, in the state of Kansas, you no longer need a physician referral to see a physical therapist.

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