Welcome to our short special series of articles about running.
- Runners are often guilty of showing their hamstrings no love, until they demand it.
- Hamstring issues usually arise because the muscles are weak. Long and weak or short
- and tight hamstrings all pose injury risks, as do muscle imbalances with over-powering quadriceps on the front of your thigh.
The hamstring consists of 3 muscles, that run down the back of your thigh from your buttock to just below your knee. They work over two joints – both flexing (bending) the knee and extending (straightening) the hip joint.
The hamstrings work throughout each stride but are especially active when you are bending your knee and extending your hip at the same time, for example when driving yourself up hills, and powering into the finish. Approximately 7% of running injuries are hamstring-related. Pushing through hamstring pain can morph into a debilitating tear.
Running-related hamstring injuries can be one of two things: a more commonly known hamstring strain (pulled/torn muscle) or an overuse injury called hamstring tendinopathy
An overuse/overloading of the muscle tendon attachment at the origin of the hamstring on the ischial tuberosity deep in your buttocks. History of increased load, more hill running, increased speed work, unaccustomed deep lunges, yoga and deadlifts. The tendon has poor blood flow which makes healing and recovery slow.
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This third feature in our summer series of articles about running takes an in-depth look at the hamstring and associated injuries, including ways to assist recovery.