Poor Hamstring Recovery

My left hamstring has a history of tightening up. For the last few years it has improved so that I can at least sprint without injuring myself.

My problem now is that the muscle does not recover properly. In two years I have never pulled the muscle whilst running. What happens is that around 24 hours after I finish, the muscle becomes sore, tight and tender to touch. This is despite the rest of my body having recovered fully.

It is unlike a regular muscle tear as it does not hurt to exert force or flex. The pain comes when I try to stretch the muscle at the hip. It feels brittle. I can really feel it just walking. I am most comfortable when the leg is straight with the hip extended. It takes about two days to get over it.

I have tried everything I can think of to this. I warm down and stretch. I’ve tried ice, heat and massage but found that these things only seem to aggravate it. I have a compression bandage that seems to relieve it, and anti-inflams are OK, too. Gentle movements (walking and building up to light jogging) seem to loosen up the muscle, but when I stop and cool down it goes back to being worse than before.

I have managed and worked around this problem for a while and I am able to improve, but it is obviously slowing my progress. Clearly I would prefer to be able to prevent this happening at all.

I’d like to repeat that this isn’t something that happens while I sprint. There is something that goes wrong afterwards.

For example, I trained on Friday (2:3X60m). When I finished I was a little tight in the right quad. I rested it and it was fine the next morning. I also rested my problem hamstring. However, by Saturday night it had started to tighten. It is Sunday night and after hobbling around all day it is just beginning to get back to normal.

I would love to hear from anyone who has had similar experience, or any ideas to help me prevent this problem…

I have the same problem with my calf (nearly ripped in half summer 2001).
It recovers slower than any other part of the bod & swells when on it too much, flying is a pain too. I just figured I will be icing it when I am 90!!
I increase my MSM & ice it a lot. Not sure if there is anything else to do & I am sure this is no help but I assume there are some injuries that you will feel for a lifetime…???
May be wrong on that one…

sounds like your left hamstring is overloaded, probably because your left glute isn’t firing properly and/or you are bearing more weight on your left side. See the EMS for shin splints thread for a longer explanation.

I would suggest to try cross friction massage therapy to reduce scar tissue in the muscles left over from previous injuries.

Areas within a muscle that contain scar tissue are usually lacking proper blood supply. This can lead to pain, difficulties in the removal of anaerobic metabolites such as lactic acid and phosphate, tightness as the muscle is trying to protect the damaged area (guarding) and increased likelihood of recurrent injuries.