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Leg: Pulled Hamstring


About eight weeks ago I pulled my right hamstring at the attachment while heel hooking. I didn’t actually feel it until about five minutes after I’d come off the route, but once I did, holy cow! I was pretty darn sore for about a month—no climbing, no tying my own shoelaces, no stairs. I’m doing better now but it’s still quite achy at times—absolutely no overhangs or any toe-grabby stuff and no high steps. What can I do to make it heal faster?

—mollyD | Rock and Ice Forum

Naturally, I have also had the ignominy of clutching my arse with one hand. I did, however, get much gratuitous satisfaction from asking people if they could feel the tear.

“No-no, it’s much higher than that … and a bit more in. A. Little. Bit. Higher!”

Your sore bum sounds less severe than mine, and that’s a good thing. A small though painful tear is likely. Any force, be it pulling with your toes or stretching the hamstring will come with a tearing sensation that will have you considering your future birthing options.

Get your boy (or girl!?) to rub your bum with warm oil every day. I guarantee it will be a bonding experience for both of you. I wish my Hottie had a torn hamstring! I’m sure a good aroma therapist may be of further assistance depending on the effect you’re after.

After a few more weeks, start doing some eccentric loading of your hamstrings to strengthen the injured tendon. You can do these with a Theraband, but a gym machine is much easier. Lift a moderate weight with two legs (lying on your tummy) but lower with only one leg. Three sets of 10 reps preferably four to five days a week. Twice a day is better than once a day. Given your recent predilection for hamstring injuries, do this with both legs.

A little pain is fine. Certainly you need to step up to the plate with a solid stretching and strengthening program. Pain while climbing is fine within reason, but anything that requires similar loading to the mechanism of injury should be graduated over the next couple of months.

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