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Nick asked...

I pulled my hamstring running.

I pulled my hamstring quite bad running the 100m sprint in a competitive race (bear in mind im 14) on July 7th. For at least a week and a half I found trouble walking, and it slowly started to get better. But recently i can run around 60% but I feel scared trying anymore, as I am always tweaking it therefore starting the pain again. When will the injury be fully healed? Is there anything I can do to speed up the process? Any other insight?

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The answer

Hamstring tears are common in those who take part in sports which require sudden bursts of sprinting speed. When running, the hamstring muscles at the back of the thigh flex the knee and the quadriceps at the front straighten the leg. It only takes a slight in-coordination in these two major muscle groups which are working to maximal capacity during sprinting to cause a tear in the hamstring.
The amount of time it will take to fully recover from such an injury will depend on the degree of the tear in the muscle. A minor sprain may only last a week or so whereas a larger tear could take many months to heal properly. On average about six weeks is needed to allow the muscle to heal to a degree where it can cope with the stresses of fast running. Rehabilitation work in the form of stretching and strengthening can usually take place after a couple of weeks but recovery needs to be gradual and progressive to avoid further injury. The key is to get the right balance of strength and coordination of the hamstrings and quadriceps muscle groups.
If you are still feeling twinges in the hamstrings when running, then you are not ready for full sprinting. A sport physiotherapist will be able to do a biomechanical assessment which will allow you to focus on areas of tightness and muscle imbalance. This will allow you to recover but also help prevent this becoming a recurring injury.

Answered by Dr. A Wright.


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