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Hamstring Round Up

May 29, 2009

So I tweaked my hamstring for the first time in my life on Tuesday.  I was running deep for a huck, and then I suddenly had a catch in my left hammie.  I think it had to do with the uneven fields we were playing on, but I don’t think I was as warm as I could have been.  This is bad timing for tryouts this weekend, so I am trying to fix it as fast as possible.  Here are some of the resources I have been reading.

  1. Injury Timeout: Muscle Strains – This is a great resource for alot of injuries associated with Ultimate, and I found out about it a couple months ago, though now it is the first place I check when something goes wrong.
  2. Recovery 101 by Mike Robertson – Mike Robertson comes through in the clutch again.  I like some of the visualization/meditation stuff in this article, of course there is also the Self Myofascial Release aspect.
  3. The Evolution of Rehab and Why RICE Sucks by Eric Homan – I am a big fan of adding movement to injuries and creating scenarios where blood flow is frequent to the affected area.  That’s what she said?
  4. Nutrition Applied to Injury Rehab by Luke Bucci – This seems to be a heavy read but a great one, none the less.  I take fish oil on a daily basis and this book confirms why I do – to reduce inflammation.  One of the many benefits of this supplement.  Also, it’s really cheap at Costco!

Does anyone have tecniques or methods they have used that aren’t present in any of these articles?  Let me know in the comments.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. May 29, 2009 6:56 am

    I like the bit about MICE (Movement Ice Circulation Elevation) over RICE; it’s easy to file away, and will definitely replace my default recommendations when I’m talking to players with injuries.

    However, I wish the author gave us some stretching info rather than a vague allusion to doing static stretches following injury and a plug for a book I’m not willing to buy (just general info would’ve been very useful–if I roll my ankle, should I be stretching my calves? Just working through a range of motion at the affected joint? What’s the goal with the motion?). You got any more insight than the author there?

    • May 29, 2009 4:56 pm

      I agree there could be more there. I know I am personally foam rolling like I normally would be, going through all the surrounding and connecting tissue that lead to my hamstring. I generally feel that the problem could really be anywhere, so I try to be thorough.

      I also try and think about making blood flow to the injury as much as possible.

  2. May 29, 2009 1:08 pm

    My only advice without reading any of the articles is DO NOT OVERPUSH IT. Wait for the hammie to be close to perfect before you place 100% on it, otherwise you will just re-aggravate the injury and thus take longer to heal.

    A healthy Ellsworth is a happy Ellsworth.

  3. Garrett permalink
    May 29, 2009 2:49 pm

    While this may not be the cause 100% of the time, it applies very well to ultimate players who typically have other jobs besides playing.

    When you pull your hamstring, don’t look at the hamstring – check on your hip flexor tightness and glute activation. This is a double whammy because tight hip flexors lead to the foot striking the ground in front of the body (a compromising position for the hamstrings), while the associated inactive glutes require the hamstrings to do even more work.

    As for getting an already injured hamstring better –
    A) still stretch the hips, activate the glutes (glute bridges, bird dogs..) so you’re not asking the hammies to do all the work when you do start running again
    B) Foam rolling the hammies is a must
    C) In addition to foam rolling, I found I could get deeper into the hamstrings by emulating Graston Technique with a thin metal bar and some lotion
    D) Morning and nightly bodyweight (footweight?) hamstring curls just to get the muscle firing and blood flowing
    E) When you’re ready to start some light running, rather than just jogging (a motion with not a lot of carryover to sprinting), I like to quickly get back into a light, slow, bounding sprint. Focus on a big range of motion through the hips (both flexion and extension), good foot placement (almost underneath the body on ground contact), reasonably short ground contact time, but spring up from each step, rather than driving forward as hard as you can. This provides a better base to return to actual sprinting from than, “well, I’ve been jogging for a couple weeks now, guess I can try sprinting.”

    Once your hamstrings are 100%, the quality of glute ham raises cannot be overstated (actually, you can start them before your hamstrings are 100%, if you’re careful and limit your range of motion to what you can safely do – full range of motion glute ham raises can be brutal on the uninitiated). Keeping the hip flexors loose is a battle you can never let your guard down on simply because of how much we sit.

    • May 29, 2009 5:00 pm

      I agree with a lot of what you are saying here. It is funny you mention hip flexors because my opposite side (right) hip flexor has been inflamed and irritated most of the week.

      Immediately my thought was, oh shit I must have compensated somehow and caused this problem. My right hip flexor tends to be annoying at most, but recently it makes it hard to run as fast as I can, and even touch the floor without bending my knee.

      Thanks for the feedback, I am glad it’s not just me thinking that.

      • Garrett permalink
        May 29, 2009 6:04 pm

        Yeah, I’d go ahead and file that under not a coincidence.

        The tricky thing with hip flexors is keeping them loose enough for proper glute function, while still keeping the iliopsoas strong A) for quick foot return in stride and B) so that the rectus femoris and TFL don’t take over as primary hip flexors.

        If just one hip flexor is inflamed, you know from the start you’ve got some asymmetry. Likely the other hip flexor is tight as well, but due to some asymmetric factor in the way you play or live, the tightness will express itself in a different manner.

        Add the hip flexors to your foam rolling work. ART and ARP sounds like a pretty fun time; unfortunately I don’t live close to any good practitioners, so I haven’t given it a try. I’d still add home brewed Graston Technique for when you don’t have the time/money to see a practitioner. It’s amazing how many little knots you can find.

  4. Jose permalink
    May 29, 2009 3:20 pm


    If you have health insurance, call this guy it’s worth it John Chandler recommend it to me and did wonders in some the scar tissue, I had pulled (both) of my hamstrings years ago and develop scar tissue that made even more prone to the injury. He worked my hamstrings last summer and so far I’ve been OK. Talk to to Chandler, I think Andy Dikeman and other zero players have gone to see him too. Good luck!

  5. John Chandler-Pepelnjak permalink
    May 29, 2009 3:36 pm

    My chiro does ART (which I know you’ve heard about) and then also this thing that is pretty bad-ass, ARP (Accelerated Recovery and Performance). Basically you hook the affected muscle to some electrodes and run current of varying intensity through it as you do a series of stretches. It blew my mind how quickly I was able to play again after what felt like a pretty bad hamstring tear. He’s got a whole spiel on why it works and Allred and Dikeman used it also if you want their opinions.

    Here’s the link to his website: Works in Golden Valley and takes insurance.

  6. aph permalink
    May 29, 2009 3:39 pm

    I’ve had several hamstring injuries including a partial tear just before sectionals. According to the literature I’ve read in relevant journals and to the Doctors and PT’s I’ve seen

    1. Hamstring injuries tend to recur.
    2. There is no consensus on effective treatment.

    General advice like lowering inflamation, strengthening the muscles, evening out imbalances (particularly quad/ham, but also glute and calf), stretching, and working on running form seem to be the basis for most rehab programs. Keep the muscle warm can help during exercise or before stretching, but is no guarantee.

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