This is a question I am often asked when dealing with hamstring injuries. My typical answer is, “it depends”. Some of the questions I ask are as follows
- Was there a particular incident that led to a pain in your hamstring?
- Is it something that gradually came on over time?
- Do you have a history of hamstring injuries?
- Does the pain go down the leg?
- Describe what the pain feels like? Is it a sharp shooting electric like pain?
- Have you any numbness, tingling, pins and needles?
- Are there any associated issues that might relate to it?
- How is your general health?
- How is your bladder and bowel movements?
If the answers to Q4-Q7 is No, and Q8 and Q9 are Good, I am usually happy to let someone run with a bit of hamstring pain.
Hamstring pain can come from a number of sources like tendinopathy, muscle strain, muscle tears, referred pain from the lower back or glutes, etc.
Research tells us, a comprehensive early rehabilitation plan following a muscle tear, strain or tendinopathy is advocated. Some gentle initial running, were pain allows is part of this process.
On a VAS scale of 0-10 with 0 being no pain and 10 being the worst pain you have ever felt. I advocate running if your pain is around a 3-4 and it;
- doesn’t increase with duration
- comes back to baseline afterward your run
- hasn’t increased in pain the following morning
All too often we are afraid to exercise due to pain. Sometimes it’s ok to exercise with a little pain. It doesn’t mean you are making something worse, just that you are asking an area that is irritated to do some work.