Running Hamstring Pain

hi this is Douglas I'm a physical

therapist and running coach bringing you

another informative healing on the run

running form correction video for

hamstring pain in this video you will

see three examples of runners that came

to see me specifically to help solve

their hamstring pain this is also

referred to as high hamstring pain

because it manifests at the top of the

hamstring where it attaches to the

pelvis this common condition developed

solely for distance runners and can

become nagging and chronic it consists

of inflammation at the attachment of the

hamstring on the ischial tuberosity or

more commonly referred to as the sits

bones that is why this condition will be

aggravated by sitting for long periods

of time in a car or more quickly on a

hard surface there is evidence that

certain modalities will help this injury

resolved this is especially true when

there is a muscle imbalance and

one-sided hip or pelvic misalignment but

they tend to require a layoff from

running with form adjustments both the

pain symptoms and the misalignment can

self correct the main underlying cause

for high hamstring injury is overusing

your hamstring to pull your body forward

when you're not engaging the core for

power and movement if you have this

condition and it is not responding to

strengthening and stretching and other

medical treatments you are probably a

candidate for form and technique work

once the underlying cause is corrected

this condition can often fade out

quickly let's take a look at the before

and after video clips and see what

measures help these runners become pain

free without layoffs or limitation this

first runner came in with hamstring pain

on both sides that hurt at the

attachment at the base of the pelvis on

the left side it was accompanied with

sciatic nerve pain that ran down the

back of her leg I call this high

hamstring pain and it's very common in

distance runners so let's take a look at

the still shots taking it mid stride

what is most prominent is the forward

lean in the right frame and the neutral

to back lean in the left frame on the

left she is set to have to pull her

torso forward producing the force for

that from the contraction of the

hamstrings then if we look at her in mid

stance the effect of this is more

obvious dropping a vertical lying down

from the shoulder you can see that her

body mass is behind the planted foot on

the left and falls through the mid

foot on the right which is what we're

looking for in terms of decreasing the

need for hamstring contraction as well

as minimum impact stress the visual

effect of this is a fluid sense of

rolling along the ground on the right

and a staccato step-step-step effect on

the left this rolling along creates a

lot of buoyancy the step step step

strategy creates more resistance in

pounding now let's look and see what the

pelvis is doing in slow motion you see a

more flowing motion on the right and a

holding and lack of movement on the left

as with so many running injuries the

mobility of the pelvis is key to the

natural map biomechanics one of the

prerequisites for full pelvic mobility

is that the pelvis be aligned underneath

the torso with the chest and shoulders

relaxed and engaged in a forward lean

the second runner is new to running and

was immediately hampered by high

hamstring pain on the left in his case

there is good pelvic mobility but there

are basically three things that needed

adjustment which resolved his pain

quickly looking at the still screen at

the image on the Left he is going into

full extension of the forward leg at the

knee his pelvis is held back and his

chest is pushed out forward with arms

and head pulled back this has him set up

to pull a large center of mass forward

by pawing the ground with his lead leg a

job that is delegated to and over works

the hamstring with the slow motion I

want to draw your attention to two

things one is the forefoot strike on the

left of your screen and the mid-foot

strike on the right this forefoot strike

pattern is a setup for other overuse

injuries such as plantar fasciitis

achilles pain and a variety of calf

issues the second thing I'd like to draw

your attention to is the scissoring

stride on the left frame which again

favors an already overburdened hamstring

as compared to the engagement of his hip

flexors on the right which gives him the

advantage of powering from the core

rather than pulling through on the

ground and engaging peripheral leg

muscles now taking a look at the third

runner she came to see me with long

standing pain again in the eye hamstring

very painful and getting in the way of

her racing goals and her enjoyment of

the sport looking at the still shot of

mid stride you can see on the left that

her back is arched her pelvis is held in

an anterior position placing her hip

joints back and her chest and shoulders

are held up and back in addition she is

leaning forward at the waist

this postural positioning doesn't allow

the chorim

of the body to engage and drive the hips

and thighs on the right she's aligned

with the pelvis under the torso giving

the latissimus muscle on the back and

oblique abdominals a chance to engage

and also allows for the hip flexors to

elongate and engage moving to the next

set of stills mid stance you can see

that her stance foot is well in front of

her hips and pelvis the result is for

her to paw the ground for force

production resulting in increased

contraction of the hamstrings in

addition this pulling herself forward

off the planted foot while creating

increased effort in fact slows her down

in the right hand frame the stance foot

spends less time on the ground and with

the pelvis underneath her and engaged

muscularly from the core she's able to

shorten her stride allowing for a faster

turnover this results in more air time

and less stance time and again with a

slow motion you can see the freedom of

movement of the pelvis and the improved

torso pelvic alignment that makes that

possible in summary the tightness in the

hamstring in distance runners is often

attributed to playing to larger role and

force production this is a strategy

adopted when the core of the body

doesn't play its role this can most

often be attributed to poor postural

alignment and positioning of the body

center of mass behind the stance foot at

foot strike thankfully this can be

eliminated by making the necessary

Corrections without disrupting your

training and as is true with all

Corrections made to overcome injury you

will also become a more efficient runner

as well to work with running injuries

using the healing on the Run approach it

is best to consult with a professional

who has an understanding of the injury

your running form and your current

training and goals I work out of

Lafayette Colorado and can be contacted

through my website at radiant running