Hamstring Sprain/Tear

Hamstring Muscle Tear

The deal: Koch says that the hamstring tears suffered by triathletes are different in nature than the image that a sprinter tearing a hamstring might impart. “It’s an easy diagnosis with a sprinter,” he says. “They tore it in a dramatic way and there’s bruising in the area. But with triathletes we’re talking about small tears, micro-tears, so it’s more like a tendinosis than a tear.” A common cause of chronic hamstring tears, Koch says, is when a newer triathlete adds track workouts to the program. “They’re suckered into going too hard by the glory days,” he says.

First aid: Rest and ice as soon as possible, Koch says. “Gentle massage will help, too.” If the problem doesn’t go away, Koch might suggest noninvasive ASTYM treatments that aim to rid scar tissue from the problem area.  

Prevention: “Shorten the stride,” Koch advises. By shortening the stride you expose the hamstring to less overall tension and lessen the risk of tearing things. Preventing hamstring problems is also an area where you need to take measures throughout the workday to get up, move around and introduce spells of light mobility work to your day. “If you sit all day and then go run intervals on the track at night,” Koch says, “you’re going to have trouble getting full hip extension.”

As far as treatment, you could also try some Active Release Technique (ART) from Dr. Tom Fletcher in Murray, Utah.  He has helped quite a few athletes suffering from hamstring issues.