Overpronation causing hamstring strains

Can a faulty running gait predispose you to hamstring strains? Could orthotics fix that? I thought overpronation was responsible for ailments such as shins splints, plantar fascitis, and knee pain.

I got a digital foot scan and showed that I have pronated feet. The area under the arch area is red, which indicates the areas you apply the most pressure. So even though my arches are not flat, I guess they could collapse in weight-bearing activities.

I strained my right ham (mild strain 1st degree) yesterday, in the WARM UP!!!:eek: during a build up run (moderate intensity) before my speed work, and after a good warm up (2lap jog, mach drills, stretching etc). I felt a cramp and a sudden tightening and slight pain (not a tear though). Today i am much better…

I havent strained my right ham since october so I suppose that it cant be a recurrence… Ive been self massaging my hamstrings at home all along… I am so confused, i don’t do so much speed work volume, so there must be a biomechanical issue. That can’t be right!

Here’s a video of a start. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9o9qL7doUk

Do my feet strike the ground weird?

49 out of 50 people have “pronated” feet. How do you know you over pronate??

Well, at first my training partner told me that I step on the outer part of my feet when I run. Today I got a foot scan and the physio i went to, told me i have pronated feet, and I could use some orthotics !

I am not sure, but I still cannot pintpoint one cause for my repeated hamstring strains. I can’t be that sensitive to speed work. This time I paid attention to everything. Great flexibility, great warm ups, quality speed work with good intensity and relatively low volume , like 4x20m, & 1x80m and gradually building up… Squats, rdl’s, bench, pulldowns in the weightroom (not crazy intensity, moderate volume, 6-8 rep range).
Very limited tempos, but plenty of rest between speed sessions…and plenty of self massage (like deep effleurage)in my hams by myself lol:)
I suspect some sort of a biomechanical problem.
What else could it be?

I hadn’t strained that hamstring for like over 5 months, so that can’t be a reaggravated old one from scar tissue.

The fact that it cramped up and tightened during a submaximal run-through, makes me wonder…
Is it possible that microtears accumulated from the previous speed session, and I wasn’t recovered for the next one? (3 days between the sessions). I dont know what to think:)

Everyone steps on the outer part of their feet. What kind of callous patterns do you have on your feet? Are you prone to ankle sprains? When you walk do you walk from the outside of your foot, roll to the inside, and then roll a little bit back to the outside? This is pronating, chances are you do it. Excessively pronating means your feet collapse inward too much. An example would be someone who walks almost on the edge of the medial portion of their shoes.

If it cramped up you could be dehydrated which can cause strains. Yes, scar tissue can still be a culprit. You can also do everything right with monitoring volume and what not but fact of the matter is, shit happens.

As far as orthotics go, I highly recommend against them. Humans were not meant to walk with shoes on for one, and two, adding extra cushioning and more crap between your feet and the earth’s surface is not going to help, in my opinion. Putting just about anything on your feet will alter your gait patterns.

If you really think it is a biomechanical issue, I would look at your pelvis first and diagnose whether you have some kind of tilt going on. If it’s a biomechanical issue, my feeling is more than likely it’s originating at the hip and not the feet.

Never sprained an ankle in my life! The wear pattern on my shoes is on the outside part as far as I can see.
I did have some problems with shin splints in the past, but kept them under control with some arch taping and deep massage in the soleus.
If everyone pronates then maybe I don’t even have a problematic gait pattern after all!

I wasn’t dehydrated either! So thats not the case… though I thought about it too!
Man, do you think it could be a recurrent hamstring from the previous scar tissue? Even though, it’s been like 5 or 6 months and I’d been massaging (HARD) the length of my hamstrings and all the little bumps and knots all the way through during that time?? (no ART here in greece goddammit!)

Your arguments with orthotic use is a valid one, and it does make sense from an evolutionary point of view…

Oh and about the pelvic tilt issue, yes I DID have anterior pelvic tilt ,especially when my back hurt! Damn! I guess i may still have a slight APT, but I keep it under control with lying pelvic tilts (trying to activate deep TVA and multifidus in the lying position, while keeping the pelvic in a neutral position and breathing normally holding the TVA tension)!
Damn, I’ve learnt a lot about injuries, but maybe just shit happens and I am just very unlucky!:slight_smile:
I dont know what to think!

From the sounds of it and the fact you haven’t had any ankle or foot (I’m presuming) injuries I’d say it’s highly doubtful you have any issues going on with your feet causing problems up the chain. If you have relatively collapsed arches as you said before your feet could be weak, not a definite but a possibility.

It sounds like you have a good grasp of APT and whatnot so biomechanically you seem to be relatively sound. Of course this is just by what I’m reading so.

Rather than massaging your hamstrings with your hands, I’d use a lacrosse ball (or some hard, smaller ball). Sit on a chair with the ball under one of your hamstrings and try soft tissue work that way. You will be able to apply a lot more pressure than with your hands. Also, if your into foam rollers ditch it and get PVC pipe. More pressure isn’t always better, but with hamstrings, due to the angles of self-soft tissue work, you need something substantial to try to break up scar tissue.

OK! You were pretty spot on. I will admit sth. Yesterday, when i pulled my ham, I felt that there was sth wrong with my core (albeit a very minor feeling) when i was doing the static stretches in the warm-up It was like my APT had increased slightly and I couldn’t activate my lower rectus and had a slight stomach bulge… But i thought it was my imagination and skipped it.

Now, the anterior pelvic tilt (at least in my case), has to do with the faulty recruitment pattern in your Tranversus abdominis… Your brain can’t recruit the TVA and Multifidus concurrently, if i remember correctly, or sth along those lines.
Now, I ve researched this stuff pretty thouroughly, and just before i typed this post, i browsed through an article of mike robertson on T-nation, about lower rectus abdominus training (http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=990092).

I did those deadbug variations (which are very very similar with the lying pelvic tilts), but did the advanced versions with the arms, and the double leg lowering while holding the pelvic in a neutral position through the lower TVA activation.

I do this, i stand up, and i can now contract my core, and my stomach doesn’t buldge. Insane. Like a neural inhibition of some sort.
Now, i could suppose that my pelvis yesterday “was out of place” because of the altered neural functioning of the TVA, and thus placing extra load on my hamstrings or maybe even altering its firing sequence?
Certainly a possibility, now that I put some thought into it. Its the only reasonable explanation too…

My intuition tells me that there is nothing wrong with my gait, that would contribute to my hamstring problems.
I dont know, some random thoughts!

Seem from the video (but i can’t see it frame to frame) you have a problem in external/posterior kinetic chain.
Seem you have problems on your left foot.
Poor glutes use.
Probably you have a low back fixation.
Try to fix muscle imbalances first, glutes, piriformis, TFL, Hamstring, then you can see for orthotics.
Check your sprint technique.

Take this as an online opinion!!!

(As Jamorik points out doing this online is a bit pointless … but for kicks I’ll throw in my 2 cents worth …)

I just looked at your video there.

A few questions …

  • Where is the hamstring strain on right side? To middle/belly/slightly to left/right HS?

  • Is the wear on both shoes the same pattern or more laterally on the left foot?

  • Have you any Adductor tightness or groin pain on right leg?

  • Is previous Hamstring strains to the belly and middle of the hamstring muscles?

  • What is calf or achilles history and tightness like?

  • Low back pain? To middle or both sides?

  • Any Hip pain or tenderness on right?

  • Do you do any core work?

I wouldn’t be surprised if there are problems at the left foot but don’t think that’s where the problems originate - I would be looking more at psaos and TFL (particularly on RHS). I think the Hamstring injury if looked at might be more an adductor injury and external rotators to the RHS are probably rock hard along with TFL. I would expect more ankle issues at the LHS if he hasn’t ahd any to date. Hamstrings are probably very flexible but there is probably also a chronic APT which is allowing him get away with it. Orthotics at this stage with no attempt to fix this will only potentially cause more problems. Poor Glutes use is most likely from over use of Hams and good Hams flexibility as I pointed out above… Then again that’s just what I think!

  1. The hamstring pull was on the right hamstring, in the middle of the belly, along the long head of the bicep femoris. I have strained my left hamstring too, in the past!:smiley:

  2. The wear pattern on some of my shoes seems to be on the outter part of the soles, but its the same on both

  3. Adductor tightness… no, not really. Never injured my adductor! No pain in the groin at all!:slight_smile:

  4. Yes, 6 months ago, my i had grade 2 tears in my right hamstring (in the belly initially, and then reinjured it - extension injury, bad rehab!). I 've massaged the shit out of it ever since , my flexibily was awesome -standing gymnastic pike- my strength was ok… back squats below parallel 156kgx6@75kg bw . I thought i had overcome the previous injuries and i was happy that this time, my hamstrings and especially my right one was made of steel! Lol, it seems i was wrong!

  5. No calf/achilles tightness in my life! But a history of medial tibial stress syndrome (shin splints), controllable with arch taping before training and regular massage in the soleus musche in the inside border of the tibia.

  6. Low back pain… Oh yes. Definately. L4-L5 bulge months ago, but now i am completely pain free! (the only exercise that bothers me are heavy deadlifts, squats are ok!). And a history of anterior pelvic tilt (chicken or the egg situation)

  7. Core work is through squats (back and front), sprints, and some pelvic tilts on the off days.

  • My psoas are very flexible btw…

Maybe the root cause are my feet, which are affecting my pelvic position causing neural inhibition in the deep core muscles (anterior tilt), therefore altering the firing sequence of the hammies.

My inability to stabilize the pelvis in a neutral position, seems to affect my hamstrings (length-tension relationship maybe). So maybe orthotics could help indirectly… Thoughts?

If you have ATP, stop stretching and worrying about the flexibility of your hamstrings. You are only exacerbating the ATP. In ATP, hamstrings and glutes need strengthening, not flexibility. If your psoas and rectus femoris are flexible, I would look at lower abdominal strength as a cause for the ATP. As well as loosening up your spinal erectors. Look in a mirror from the side view. If you have ATP your butt is sticking out, now pull your pelvis into a neutral position, what muscles did this work? Primarily the lower abdominals.

Your feet aren’t causing a pelvic tilt, the musculature around your pelvis is causing a pelvic tilt.

You can be able to lift a shit load of weight, that doesn’t mean your hamstrings aren’t excessively lengthened (from ATP) and still weak. Same goes for your abdominals. You might be able to support however much weight in a squat yet your lower abdominals aren’t strong enough to hold your pelvis in a neutral position.




Mike Robertson’s “Hips don’t lie” over at t-nation.


Squatting != core work

Yeah, what I probably have is a sacroiliac joint dysfunction (or Ilium Upslip), and that explains pretty much everything. Notice that my hamstring strains started a year ago, around the time my back was achy…
Before, i would sprint (although to a lower intensity level, i was weaker) with no warm up AT ALL, and have no strains whatsoever… That should tell me sth…

The important thing is that IT IS treatable wth some corrective exercises you can do at home, everytime the SI joint “gets out of place”.

Here’s a lengthy description http://www.kalindra.com/faq.htm