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Thread: Torn hamstring

  1. #1
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    Torn hamstring

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    I've been having hip pain, mostly on the left side, so got an MRI to see what's going on. MRI found a partial tear of the left hamstring. I have similar (but much worse) pain on the right side so an MRI will be done on that side next week. I fear bi-lateral hamstring tears. (The doctor suspected labral tear on left side, thus a left-sided MRI only. The MRI ruled out labral tear.)

    I'm 56 years old and am currently sidelined from every activity, except the core/upper-body exercises I'm doing at home. Walking even very short distances (like down the hallway to another room) irritates the right side. I was planning to do my first century next month, and now this!

    Has anyone experienced a torn hamstring(s) and and returned to the bike without re-injury? I fear a long recovery.

  2. #2
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    I've never experienced a torn hamstring, but I'm just sorry you're experiencing this. It sounds horrible. I hope you heal fast, and wish you well.
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  3. #3
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    I tore mine when I was young in a "freak cheerleading accident" It was really bad and I could barely walk. I understood how it could cause someone to end an athletic career. It took me a long time to get back to normal with it, and I do think I pull that hamstring easier than others, and sometimes after riding for a long time I find some problems with that leg (though only after riding, not that much while riding). Not sure how helpful that is, since like I said - MANY years ago, and sounds like my problem may have been different since I knew the moment it happened.

    Good luck. It stinks when you can't do anything other than core/upper body stuff. Hope you are on the mend soon and riding without any trouble!
    You too can help me fight cancer, and get a lovely cookbook for your very own! My team's cookbook is for sale Click here to order. Proceeds go to our team's fundraising for the Philly Livestrong Challenge!

  4. #4
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    I tore my hamstring and quad in 2010 when I was learning how to ride (just REALLY over-did things on bike (quad) and also too many deadlifts (hamstring) without warming up properly). My stubborness didn't help, and in the end I was off the bike for about 4-5 months but then I was able to return. I had micro-tears, they weren't large so that will make a difference as well. It still twinges from time to time but as long as I warm up properly it no longer holds me back. I hope you are on the mend soon and be smarter than I was- listen to the doctor and don't put off physical therapy! If I had been less stubborn I likely wouldn't have been off the bike as long as I was - and I was 50 at the time if that helps.

    I was able to do LIGHT spinning (in spinning class, not riding outside) during my recuperation period - the quad gave me far more problems than the hamstring did for riding. Find the best physical therapist you can. My first one was unable to help me and I had to go elsewhere to get relief.
    Last edited by Catrin; 01-26-2013 at 03:31 AM.

  5. #5
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    Thank you for your comments and good wishes. Catrin, your story is very similar to mine - I overdid things last year (2012) in an attempt to catch up with the stronger riders in our group and train for organized rides. In 2011 I was sidelined with tennis elbow and returned to riding in January 2012. I had a lot of catching up to do, and I did catch up and even surpassed some of them, but I did so in big leaps rather than gradual steps. I love to climb hills, and easily rode 82 pain-free miles last September. In late October, some strange symptoms started popping up:

    1. At the very start of each ride (within the first 15-20 minutes), I felt a sharp pain in the left groin area. After several minutes of this -- just as I was beginning to think of ending the ride -- I felt a light "pop" and the pain was gone. I continued riding, and this happened only during the first 15-20 minutes.

    2. Then I started feeling pain at the front of my left hip every time I raised my knee off the pedal after unclipping. I ALWAYS unclip on the left side with the pedal in the 12 o'clock position (not intentionally; it's just the habit I developed when I first went clipless). Raising my knee off the pedal (against gravitational resistance) caused a sharp pain at the front of the left hip, and the pain worsened each time. By the end of a ride, I wondered if I'd be able to raise my knee off the pedal next time, and trying to unclip on the other side almost caused me to fall. [My doctor believes this particular pain is a strain or tendinosis of the Rectus Femoris muscle at its attachment point at the front of the hip. It hurts when I raise my knee against resistance, on or off the bike, and has nothing to do with the position of the cleat or the fit of my bike.]

    But did I see a doctor? Noooooooo! The story continues:

    3. So, I thought a few days off the bike would do me good. On one of those days I went out for a walk... a 90-minute walk. I've done that many times before 1-2 days/week. We live in a hilly neighborhood. Just a few blocks from home, I felt various pains in my hips, not severe but enough to raise a lot of red flags in the mind of a sensible person. But did that stop me? Nooooooooooooo! I pushed on and walked for 90 minutes, up and down hills. When I got home, my hips and upper thighs felt like I either WAY overdid or hadn't done any exercise in years. However, I'd done this walk many times before and was regularly active. The worst pain was on the right side, at the very top of the thigh (where I now suspect a torn hamstring).

    4. I did some spin classes at the gym. Each time, even on the stationery bike where I warmed up, I felt the painful "catching" pain in my left groin, then a light "pop" when it released. Twice when I got off the upright stationery bike (where I warm up prior to the spin class), I felt a LOT of pain at the top of my left thigh, and also some on the right, so much I couldn't walk without a pronounced limp. But did that stop me from taking the spin class? Noooooooooooo! I didn't feel any pain while spinning, but the pain returned after the class and I limped back to my car.

    In late November, I finally went to a doctor who also is a PT. I did my best to describe all the various pains and pointed to where they occur. He took an x-ray of my hips and found NO arthritis -- in fact, the joints are clean as a whistle! So, that leaves soft-tissue injury, or worse -- so I contacted my provider (Kaiser) to schedule an appointment with an orthopedic hip specialist. I took my report and x-rays with me and described all the pains. He thought the sharp pain in the groin could be a labral tear, so he ordered an MRI to rule it out. He brushed off the pain I described on the right side as 'sciatica' (I said it's at the base of my glute -- I should have said 'top of thigh' -- and NO, it's definitely NOT sciatica!), and later changed the MRI order to left side only without consulting me. When I went back for my results which show a partial tear of the left hamstring, I asked "what about the right? It hurts more on that side". His answer: There aren't any films of that side. The next day, I wrote to the doctor and requested an MRI of the right side, and it's scheduled for next Wednesday with a follow-up to get the results the following week.

    Meanwhile, I'm catching up on knitting and reading, and doing my indoor core/upper-body exercises to build strength and stability.

    Is there a lesson here? Apparently I have a very high pain tolerance, so I need to learn to listen to the pain and STOP the activity when it hurts, and begin treatment immediately. Weeks, almost a month, went by before I began any treatment (ice, heat, anything). During that time, I continued stretching and doing exercises that probably aggravated the hamstrings. In fact, a torn hamstring never came up in any discussions with either doctor -- and these are GOOD doctors.

    Apparently, one of the risk factors of hamstring tears is weakness and imbalance of the hip/pelvic/core muscles. I wonder if I first tore the hamstrings, which in turn set in motion a chain of events leading to pain in other muscles that tried to compensate for a sudden lack of power and strength in the hamstrings.

    Sorry this is so long.... I wanted to share all the details in case anyone is interested and might have additional insight.

  6. #6
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    It is apparent we are both in the same club - the Club of D'Nial In the fall of 2011 I had a nasty fall on the mountain bike trail - the only thing fast about that ride was the fall and I snapped my neck - helmet hit my back. After 2 days my neck suddenly expanded to resemble a piss*ed off Gila Monster. Did I go to the doctor? Of course not! It took me a full month - and my neck was still swollen - had a BAD case of whiplash that I am still recovering from...we are indeed related

    I don't understand why your doctor was resistant to getting both MRI tests. I know my own doctor is strongly resistant to getting multiple images because of the exposure to the body from whatever technology is used, but that is my doctor. I've had a lot of issues in the same area you have that was related to a strained sartorius. Some of it may have been connected to some minor hip arthritis, but just because it is there doesn't mean that it added to my symptoms.

    Hang in there and let us know how things go!

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    OUCH! Glad that a whiplash was your only injury and it wasn't much worse! Be sure to take good care of that. I had a whiplash injury many years ago when I was rear-ended at a red light by a car that coasted into mine. Of course(!!) I didn't get any treatment, and for years thereafter I had spasms in my neck muscles. I hope you will be fully healed very soon.

    LOL - Club of D'Nial. How very true! Not good, considering where it lead us. I just checked out your blog (nice!) and saw you spent many years in front of a computer. So did I, and I believe it was the many years of sitting at the computer which made my muscles weak and lazy, and then they were awakened from that long sleep and expected to take me on long rides and tough hills.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yen View Post
    .... I just checked out your blog (nice!) and saw you spent many years in front of a computer. So did I, and I believe it was the many years of sitting at the computer which made my muscles weak and lazy, and then they were awakened from that long sleep and expected to take me on long rides and tough hills.
    I was told that it was very fortunate that I was wearing my mtb helmet rather than my other helmet. It has more material in the back and stopped my head before my OTHER helmet would have - chances are I wouldn't have been able to wait a month to see a doctor otherwise but thankfully that isn't not what happened As it was I had major neurological symptoms that eventually let to injections to take down the inflammation causing them. I am thankful!

    I do think you nailed it in one. THIS is the challenge at starting the fitness journey later in life - this is where I think my initial over-use injuries/etc were from.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Catrin View Post
    I was told that it was very fortunate that I was wearing my mtb helmet rather than my other helmet. It has more material in the back and stopped my head before my OTHER helmet would have - chances are I wouldn't have been able to wait a month to see a doctor otherwise but thankfully that isn't not what happened As it was I had major neurological symptoms that eventually let to injections to take down the inflammation causing them. I am thankful!

    I do think you nailed it in one. THIS is the challenge at starting the fitness journey later in life - this is where I think my initial over-use injuries/etc were from.
    WOW - scary! Good to know about that helmet. Several members of our group have cracked their helmets in simple falls, but had a concussion that the doctor said might have been far worse had the helmet not been worn. Just a simple bump of the head can lead to a fatal injury -- case in point is Liam Neeson's late wife (actress Natasha Richardson) who fell on snow during a ski lesson and died a few days later. We should all learn from that.

    We could write a blog on these lessons learned, couldn't we?!?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yen View Post
    ...We could write a blog on these lessons learned, couldn't we?!?
    Yes, I think we could

 

 

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