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Jogging & Running/Persistent sore hamstrings


I have had sore hamstrings for quite a while.  I am an older runner who started in this sport two years ago.  I did a 10K in late October and thought the back of my legs felt a little sore.  I did another 5K on Thanksgiving and the soreness was there but certainly not intolerable.  I kept running throughout December and I was still sore.  By January the soreness increased and I stopped running and went to the doctor. I thought I had sore hamstrings and it was confirmed.  I followed the doctor's recommendations of no running and went to physical therapy.  I had physical therapy twice a week for four weeks.  It didn't help at all as my hamstrings are as sore as when I first started.  I do feel that the physical therapy I had was not anything that could be the latest treatment.  I had no massage, ART, use of a TENS unit or any innovative technique that I've heard about.  Maybe what I had was still appropriate, I don't know.   I saw the doctor again over a week ago.  He gave me exercises to do that were printed out.  I have tried them since then and nothing is improving. I also use a foam roller. What do you recommend at this point?  I feel that this situation has gone on for far too long and I feel as though I may not be able to run at all this coming season at this rate.  Many thanks for your help!!

Bobbi, I'm very sorry to hear that you haven't seen any improvement. I wish I could see you here in Baltimore because I'm confident we would likely see results in 3 or fewer days. However, I think we may be able to make good progress with the following tips.

1) Perform the clamshell exercise ( The big key for you is to have a lot of hip flexion when you perform it. That means that you're going to have to bring your knees toward your chest till you're near a 90 degree angle. If you don't, you'll feel it more in your hamstrings than in your glutes and we'll make this problem worse- not better.

2) I also recommend have dry needling therapy performed on your hamstrings and glutes. Physical therapists perform this in New York, but you'll have to look around to find one. If you can't find a PT who does then look for an acupuncturist who will perform deep (20-50mm deep) needling to your hamstrings and glutes.

3) If the PT can also perform some instrument assisted soft tissue work on your hamstrings and glutes that would be a bonus.

The reason for both of these recommendations is that your hamstrings are very likely doing the work your glutes should be doing. This is very common. Both of these muscle groups share a lot of actions to varying degrees, but sometimes the hamstrings try to take more than their fair share of the work. Interestingly, the glutes take more than their fair share.

Good luck and don't hesitate to ask for more help.

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Nick Rainey


I can answer questions about pain and training program. If there is a question about running that I don't know then I'll do some research and make sure I provide you with an answer.


I'm a Doctor of Physical Therapy. I'm a track and cross country coach. I train clients throughout the year. I've helped prepare athletes for their NFL Pro Days. I've written articles on running. Finally, those that I work with have less pain and run faster.

American Physical Therapy Association- Sports Section

The 6 Week Workout Program- I'm the author of this book Research Made Simple for Physical Therapists- I'm the author of this Kindle book

Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Doctor of Physical Therapy BS in Exercise Science NSCA- CSCS and CPT USA Weightlifting Level I NPI- Certified Posture Specialist Total Motion Release Level II Certified Dry Needling

Awards and Honors
National Posture Institute's International Perfect Posture of the Year Award 2011 Clinical Excellence Award- Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions Aegis Therapies Scholarship recipient

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