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  • Writer's pictureNashville PT

Chronic Hamstring Injuries

Runners: Are you dealing with chronic hamstring strains? Have you stretched and strengthened your hamstrings, yet when you return to running, you continue to have issues? Have you ever considered that maybe the reason your hamstrings are constantly getting flared-up is because you have weakness somewhere other than your hamstrings?

Chronic hamstring issues in runners may be a result of weakness around your hip, more specifically, a weak gluteus maximus. The reason for this is that besides doing their primary function, which is flexing the knee, your hamstrings also have a secondary function of extending the hip (like your gluteus maximus does). Therefore, if you have a weak gluteus maximus, your hamstrings might actually be over-working to try to help do the job of the weak gluteus maximus. So it’s not an issue of needing more strength or flexibility of your hamstrings, but rather more strength in your butt!

I know what you are thinking….you do a ton of glute exercises already so there’s no way you have weakness in your glute max. Well, maybe you are right. But how do you know for sure? Have you ever had your strength tested using hand-held dynamometry? This Active Force tool allows the therapist to get an actual value (in pounds) of your strength for different muscles, and with this information (plus your body weight) we can even compare your findings to normative values for others your age. Pretty cool, right?

Still thinking that gluteus maximus weakness isn’t your issue? Have you ever had a running analysis performed with slow-motion video capture? You see, just because you are strong in a muscle group doesn’t automatically mean you are USING that muscle when you are running. You may actually be running in a manner in which it makes it very difficult for your gluteus maximus to perform its function and therefore your hamstrings are working like crazy to try to help out. Hence the hamstring discomfort. You would never know this unless you had a specialist analyze your running gait with high-speed motion capture. This is a key component to solving your issue for good!

(Example of findings on a running gait analysis. These findings are paired with the results of a runner specific physical exam and developed into an exercise program to address any deficits so you can be hamstring injury free.)

If you have chronic hamstring issues, and you haven’t had an objective strength assessment with a dynamometer or a running analysis, call us today. We can help find the root cause of your symptoms so they don’t continue to come back. Our mission is to help active people stay active…WITHOUT pain.

If you've been dealing with chronic or repetitive hamstring injuries and you want to solve the problem, reach out to set up an appointment with us by calling 615-428-9213, emailing or by clicking HERE to schedule online.

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