Hamstring muscle injury and The Stick

This might be my first product endorsement ever, but I was that impressed with The Stick. I’ll say right from the start that I am NOT being paid for this post in any way.

I have had numerous hamstring injuries over the course of my life. Hamstring strains, sprains, tears, and pulled hamstrings, are all part of a spectrum of injuries of the hamstring, which is the muscle in the back of the thigh. They occur during sprinting activities. My injuries were typical. I pulled hamstrings several times during high school football and track. Some of those were muscle tears, as I remember heavy bruising at the time. I remember being frustrated at being sidelined for weeks with each of those events. I had more hamstring trouble playing college rugby. After college, I had occasional hamstring strains being a weekend warrior. Over the years I have learned how to best avoid or minimize the injuries, but I continue to have them to this day, in my fifties.

There is plenty of online information about hamstring injuries and how to care for them. Stick to advice from reputable sources, especially if the advice is consistent among the various sources you explore. Be quick to seek professional attention if the injury is severe, as you might avoid chronic problems that could irritate you for the rest of your life.

A few practical things I have learned include:

  1. Warm up, stretch out, and self-massage.
  2. Train gradually and smartly for any given event. Especially as you grow older, don’t take on a heavy activity for which your body isn’t prepared.
  3. If you are running injured, be willing to limit the force and duration of your exertion to prevent further injury. You don’t have to win every race. It’s even better to take the time and do what it takes to heal, to recover your full potential. Nobody wants to be chronically injured and never be at their best.
  4. Stop at the first sign of the muscle twitching. It’s not worth finishing a particular event if it is going to sideline you for weeks afterward.
  5. Hamstring injuries tend to occur during an all-out sprint, and other than having a good training program, these are unavoidable. But a particular situation where a hamstring injury might be avoidable is downhill running. Downhill running usually increases your speed and stride length. The force of impact is usually greater, and you will have more of a heel strike than usual. This is a perfect storm for a hamstring injury. I have found that the very best way to avoid an injury in this situation is to make a mental effort, after heel strike, to quickly bend your knee and roll off your heel. The idea is to not take the full brunt of your downhill weight, with an outstretched leg, on your heel. That’s a huge force that gets transmitted to your hamstring.

And finally, The Stick. Too bad I have discovered this gem so late in life. I’m sure it would have helped me right from the start in my teens. The idea is self-massage. The Stick is simply a tool anyone can use to pin-point localize the part of the muscle that is injured, and to rub the swelling out, relax the muscle fibers, stretch out the muscle, recover faster, so you can get back out there and play! I can do this with The Stick much better than I can by just using my hands and fingers. The company suggests using it before and after activity, and I totally agree with that, especially if the muscle is already tight or sore. I now use The Stick regularly. I use the Standard 24″ Body Stick. I haven’t tried any of the other models.

Here’s how I use it:

My hamstring feels better than it has in a long time, and I’ve been able to kick up my running program. I can definitely recommend The Stick to anyone who shares my hamstring woes!

Leave me a comment
  • Comedy Plus September 29, 2012 at 12:13 PM

    I’m glad this is working for you. I know how active you both are and as a doctor you know the importance of being active. Injuries make it difficult to stay active. I’m glad you found something that can lessen that healing time.

    Have a terrific day. Big hugs to you and Princess Gail. :)

  • Chris November 24, 2012 at 7:02 PM

    Ferd,
    I too have had a number of hamstring tears over my life and I’m putting together a blog on it. I love the stick! Its great for self massage. I also love the spikey ball or a tennis ball for the same reason. They are even better at getting in to the tight and knotted areas of the hamstring.
    All the best.