Sunday, March 15, 2009

Running Well

I've been away from running for 3 months healing from a high hamstring injury and have put the time to good use figuring out both how to heal and how to prevent injury.  Running Well has a great section, Part 3, called Damage Limitation that reviews what to do if you get hurt in the back, hip and pelvis, upper leg, knee, lower leg, foot and ankle.  Each sections starts with a pain symptoms map that flows from Where, When, What, to Diagnosis, Cause and Quick Fix along with explanatory text. Here's a gem from page 132: 

"Hamstring strains often occur as a result of poor gluteal recruitment, forcing the hamstring into a dual role of stabalizing the pelvis and providing power to extend the leg.  Poor gluteal activity, in turn, is often caused by overpronation - when the leg turns in, the gluteals are put in an inefficient postition and can't function properly." The authors go on to state that hamstring overload "tends to be exacerbated when the body is fatigued, as the pelvis tilts forward, putting further strain on the muscles at the back of the leg."

I've combined the advice from this book along with that of other FocusnFly members Helen, Vanessa and Karen, pointers from  Stretching Anatomy and core strengthening exercises from recent issues of Runners World into a group of stretching and strengthening exercises for my own high hamstring healing and injury prevention program. I'm sharing it in case it's of use to you.

Collected exercises: Strengthening hip stabilizers
standing hip lifts on a block
supine bent knee fallout
supine knee lifts
plank, side plank
kneeling hip extentions with bent knee and straight leg as well
ball squats
crab walk
ball bridge
supine leg lowering

Collected exercises: Stretching
sciatic nerve slump
long sitting
What has worked for you?


Karen Ambrose Hickey said...

Are those glute stretches? Or just things to stretch?


Jennifer said...

All of these stretches (except for the calf and straight leg raise which I removed) are designed to 1. reduce the pull forward of your body due to tight hip flexors and quads and 2. reduce the pull in of your legs/knees due to tight adductors/groin and 3. to loosen/strengthen your hamstrings/glutes. The goal is better muscular balance between the back and front of the body so you don't overstress your glutes or hams. Hope that helps! I'm happy to loan you the book if you'd like. Jennifer