Hamstring Injury: Nutrition for Fast Recovery
Have you ever suffered from a hamstring injury?
Did you know…. it is thought to be one of the most frequent injuries experienced by athletes?
If you have ever experienced a hamstring injury, you will know how painful it can be…and if severe enough, it can take you away from your run training for quite some time.
So, the aim of this discussion, is to ensure that by the end of the episode you feel more informed on signs and symptoms to observe for and what to do nutritionally and around training if any “niggles” are experienced.
- Give an overview of the mechanisms and risk factors associated with Hamstring Injuries
- Outline some exercises and training considerations to help prevent and speed up recovery from injury
- Discuss nutrition to help prevent and speed up recovery from a hamstring injury
What are the hamstrings?
The commonly known Hamstrings refers to a group of 3 muscles that run along the back of the thigh, from the hip to just below the knee.
What causes a hamstring injury?
It is thought that most hamstring injuries occur during sprinting due to excessive muscle strain caused by eccentric contraction during the late swing phase of the running gait cycle”
What are the risk factors for the development of a hamstring injury?
There are many potential risk factors when considering the potential for one to occur. These risks include:
Previous hamstring injury - especially if a runner has returned to training BEFORE the injury has healed completely
Age -.risk of injury increases as we age
Inadequate warm-up before exercise and lack of stretching following exercise are known to be contributing factors
A pro-inflammatory diet may influence the development of a hamstring injury due to chronic low-grade inflammation
And many more that we discuss
- Females are known to have a lower risk of hamstring injuries than males. This is thought to be related to oestrogen-induced muscle stiffness, in other words, optimal oestrogen has been reported to contribute to a decrease in muscle stiffness and to increase muscle strength
- Age would be another factor because as we know, oestrogen levels drop at menopause, therefore increasing a female’s risk of developing a hamstring injury…or indeed, any muscular injury
A focus on exercise and training considerations to help prevent and speed-up recovery from a hamstring injury.
Prevention is always better than cure with all aspects of health and sporting injuries are no less important when considering good health. There are many ways to potentially limit the development of a hamstring injury.
The presenting S/S will depend on the severity of the injury but may include:
- Sudden and sharp pain in the back of the thigh
- Swelling and tenderness over the affected area
Defining Proximal Hamstring Tendinopathy
This injury is thought to be is quite rare besides a hamstring muscle injury and the typical symptoms differ significantly from a hamstring muscle injury.
The principal symptoms for this type of injury include:
- Gradual onset and increase of pain in the back of the upper thigh
- The pain can be felt deep into the buttock area
- PLUS ++
What can you do to manage a hamstring injury?
On experiencing an injury it is very important to STOP RUNNING and seek professional support and advice. For example, from a physiotherapist
RICE Therapy: REST – ICE – COMPRESSION - ELEVATION
What is RICE Therapy?
The acronym RICE stands for: REST – ICE – COMPRESSION – ELEVATION and may be helpful in the first 2-3 days following an injury to help manage the swelling and inflammation.
A “Food First” approach to prevention and care of a hamstring injury
Eating “real food” containing targeted nutrients to support injury healing is the primary approach we use here at Runners Health Hub, but this does not mean we use a ”Food Only” approach, it would depend on the individual and the severity of the injury.
If you would like to chat to us about YOUR needs for injury prevention or healing, book a FREE call with us HERE
- Just to remind you that…most hamstring injuries occur during speed running and most likely occur due to excessive muscle strain caused by eccentric muscle contraction during the late swing phase of the running gait cycle
- There are many risk factors for a hamstring injury occurring including: running style (e.g. posture, heel striker), age, tired/weak muscles, chronic hormone imbalance and a pro-inflammatory diet
- Females are known to have a lower risk of hamstring injuries than males due to the influence of oestrogen, however the risk increases at menopause
- A runner could limit their risk of developing a hamstring injury by warming up/cooling down appropriately, foam rolling and stretching CONSISTENTLY as well as including strength training
- If you were to develop a hamstring injury then we recommend you stop running immediately and consult with a qualified musculoskeletal practitioner BUT…Immediate action you could take yourself would be to Introduce RICE therapy for the first 2 or 3 days. REST, ICE, COMPRESSION, ELEVATION
- Finally, when thinking of nutrition to help prevent and/or promote healing from a hamstring injury…remember the FOOD FIRST approach and include the Key nutrients: protein, omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin C and E and polyphenols found in plant-based foods
The suggestions we make during this episode are for guidance and
advice only, and are not a substitute for medical advice or treatment.
If you have any concerns regarding your health, please contact
your healthcare professional for advice as soon as possible.
Aileen Smith and Karen Campbell host RUNNERS HEALTH HUB. A place for like-minded female runners who are looking for simple ways to support running performance, energy, endurance, and general great health.
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