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Vanessa Sisson 11-21-2008 10:51 AM

Runners: Please help my friend!
I have a friend who is training for a marathon and has recently noticed that she can't fully flex her right hamstring and it is painful when she stretches that leg as well. The pain is most acute right behind her knee. Does anyone know what might be causing this? I am thinking it's just plainly an overuse injury...probably a little tendon or muscle strain, and the only thing that is going to help! But, her marathon is 3 weeks away....:( Advice anyone?

Ryan Whipple 11-21-2008 12:47 PM

Re: Runners: Please help my friend!
Coming from a former marathoner.


Unless she's a beast going for the win, the majority of her useful training is over anyway. A typical marathon training plan involves very high weekly mileage which tapers down towards the race, allowing the body to fully recover and 'peak' for that one performance. The benefits gained from training injured, three weeks out, are negligable compared to the damage she could do to her body and her performance.

Either she will be at the finish line wanting a few more seconds off her time, or she will be at mile 16 limping. Risks and rewards must be balanced...

Scot Brown 11-21-2008 01:53 PM

Re: Runners: Please help my friend!
I had posterior knee pain for the longest time, to the point of not being able to run, and I thought it was a pretty serious injury. Until a chiropractor told me I was just inflexible. A couple weeks of serious hamstring stretching, at least 3 times a day, later and it was gone.
But yeah, there's not much you can do, training wise, for a marathon 3 weeks away. So I wouldn't sweat it. And your friend may very well have an injury, so take this advice with a grain of salt. But it won't hurt to try stretching and rest first.

Bryan Gates 11-21-2008 01:54 PM

Re: Runners: Please help my friend!
Probably trigger points in the hamstring. Referred pain from hamstring trigger points tend to manifest in the back of the knee. Once they are bad enough stretching can actually make the pain worse.

Kevin McGuinness 11-21-2008 02:26 PM

Re: Runners: Please help my friend!
If there wasn't a specific acute injury that she can point to as the cause of the pain it sounds like an overuse injury, perhaps inflammation in the tendons of the hamstring. RICE for a day or two, followed by 15 minutes of a heating pad twice a day, avoiding all activities that cause any pain, including stretching. After a week try to start stretching lightly, increasing stretching and activity as pain allows.

A compression sleeve during the day did wonders for me when I had a sore knee last year.

-Kevin M.

Vanessa Sisson 11-21-2008 09:06 PM

Re: Runners: Please help my friend!
WOW! You guys are awesome!

I'll pass all of the above along to her. She knows what she is feeling better than me obviously.

Thanks so much. I'll let ya know how it turns out.

Jay Cohen 11-22-2008 05:10 AM

Re: Runners: Please help my friend!

Runners as a group have terrible flexibility, specialism the Hamstrings. While telling her to stretch is sound, it ain't going to happen and if she does stretch, I'll doubt if she'll do it defectively.

My answer; Deep Tissue Massage.

Get out the Phone book or Google and find a massage therapist that works with athletes. Trigger point is also good, but most good therapists work Trigger Point into the Deep tissue work. Trust me on this. Get a monthly massage, you'll run better. Toss in some strength work, post run stretch, you'll run faster.

Problem is, most runners are so compulsive, they don't listen, just want to run more.

My 2 cents for a Sat morning.

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