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  1. #1
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    Can I ride with an injured hamstring?

    Well I did it, first time ever.

    After using a spin exercise machine my legs were getting stronger. This last Saturday I had a very short riding window, so I went outside I hammered it. It really felt good to be doing those hills with more power in my legs.

    That night, OUCH!!! leg spasms and cramps hit me hard. But it wasn’t until a day later that I noticed my leg was bruising, a big fist size bruise on the back of my leg, classic hamstring tear.

    Now the big question can I do a mild ride if there is very little pain?
    I am feeling better in my leg and have no issues walking, so can I start doing mild rides

  2. #2
    Spokane, Washington
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    Have you seen a doctor? He'd be the best one to advise you. A tear can be pretty serious.
    Trying to cram the rest of my life into the rest of my life!

  3. #3
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    Couple of thoughts. I wonder how you could seriously injure a hamstring riding? Maybe getting on or off the bike?

    Second, if there really is a lot of pain and bruising, I'd advise seeing a health care professional rather than seeking advice on an internet forum.

    Hope it works out well.

  4. #4
    bjohnson
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    If you're feeling better, don't push it. A 10 minute ride could cost you a couple weeks. See a doc!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camilo View Post
    Couple of thoughts. I wonder how you could seriously injure a hamstring riding? Maybe getting on or off the bike?

    Second, if there really is a lot of pain and bruising, I'd advise seeing a health care professional rather than seeking advice on an internet forum.

    Hope it works out well.


    I am referring to the hamstring muscles which are used to flex the knee. I have a desk job and my leg muscles are not developed like someone who can ride every day. To counter this lack of exercise I use a Spin Bike several times a week. This has improved my leg strength. The problem is that a Spin Bike is adjusted by the rider and not by the road. It will give you a constant resistance and you can maintain a constant cadence.
    Now comes a road ride with real hills, because I was feeling stronger I hammered up the hills. It felt great, I had good cadence and good power.
    This sudden fast pedaling motion can cause a minor tear in the leg muscle . This will show up as a muscle spasm and bruising.
    The pain is mostly gone, and the injury should heal by itself in fairly short order.
    I am wanting to know if anyone has done “easy rides” as a form of recovery therapy?
    I hate to just sit around and wait.

  6. #6
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    How did your hamster get injured? You know, if his wheel is not properly fitted, it can lead to all kinds of problems.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by desertgeezer View Post
    How did your hamster get injured? You know, if his wheel is not properly fitted, it can lead to all kinds of problems.
    How did he get injured, thats easy, the hamster is getting older and thinks he is still a pup.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tonyc9075 View Post
    I am referring to the hamstring muscles which are used to flex the knee. I have a desk job and my leg muscles are not developed like someone who can ride every day. To counter this lack of exercise I use a Spin Bike several times a week. This has improved my leg strength. The problem is that a Spin Bike is adjusted by the rider and not by the road. It will give you a constant resistance and you can maintain a constant cadence.
    Now comes a road ride with real hills, because I was feeling stronger I hammered up the hills. It felt great, I had good cadence and good power.
    This sudden fast pedaling motion can cause a minor tear in the leg muscle . This will show up as a muscle spasm and bruising.
    The pain is mostly gone, and the injury should heal by itself in fairly short order.
    I am wanting to know if anyone has done “easy rides” as a form of recovery therapy?
    I hate to just sit around and wait.
    Yea, the desk jobs really make for tight hamstrings, butt, and hips. Cycling usually does little to improve that, and can make it worse. I think most of us cyclists should do a lot more stretching especially in those three areas than we do.

    I'm no expert and really, you should either really read up on this sort of injury or consult with a physician, physical therapist, qualified sports trainer or such.

    But, whenever I've had muscular issues, the therapy is usually controlled focused exercise and controlled focused stretching. Your injury could very well be a "just take it easy and listen to your body" type of deal where light exercise will be good, or it could be something where you need to have a different strategy. Good luck, I hope whatever you decide, you can keep riding.

  9. #9
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    Good luck with that. Maybe if you ride with easy gears might even help. My best advice is go see a physical therapist.
    -Tedd

    True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing.
    -Socrates

  10. #10
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    the more you move your seat forward (time trial position) you use your quads more & hamstrings less. the more you move your seat back you use your hammy's more (quads less) by pulling back and up with your pedals. so experiment with a more forward seat position if you wish. but i'd stay off the bike and go for a swim!!

  11. #11
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    A swim is a great idea, I agree..
    -Tedd

    True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing.
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  12. #12
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    I am off the bike, for two weeks. There is too much agreement here to ignore. For now I will do mild streaching and walking.
    My first ride when I return will be on Katy Trail which has no hills.
    Thanks all for helping.

  13. #13
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    a hamstring is a rare for a cyclist. Usually hamstring injuries happen to runners and especially to sprinters. However, it appears to me you may have injured it while hammering those hills.

    When I used to do track & field, I saw hamstring injuries all the time, if not from me than from somebody on the team. Hamstring injuries can take a long time to heal, and even if you think they are healed, it can come back just like that with a hard sprint. But the general rule that I used to judge my recovery is this

    - try to flex your hamstring with a weight on your ankles/calves (helpful if you have access to gym equipment). If you feel pain, then hamstring ain't recovered yet

    - stretch your hamstring hard rasing your leg up something high (like a high stool). Stretch it hard, if it's injured, you'll feel it as the leg is stretched higher in this fashion.

    - try to sprint for 5-20 yards, but don't go crazy. If your hamstring is hurt, you'll feel it.

    The thing about hamstring injury is that under normal walking condition, you won't feel much pain (and therefore think you're fine, which you're not). I've had hamstring injuries that have lasted a whole track season and did not fully recovered until the off-season.

    Now cycling is not running and you don't use much hamstring. So I'd imagine spinning is ok. You can go to a doctor, but unless that doctor works with athletes or sports, chances are he will not be that knowledgable and will advise you like most everyone with common sense would, i.e., "rest and take it easy". I would not bother seeing a family doctor. Seeing a specialist can be expensive and prohibitive. I think in your case, you just listen to your body and use a little common sense. You asked us the question, so you already have an idea what is going on with your body.

    Also, muscles and tendon tend to heal quicker if you DO NOT leave them alone, ie. sit idly and do nothing. They heal quicker if you stretch them LIGHTLY and perform some LIGHT exercise on them. And I repeat, LIGHTLY. If you are stretching and exercising an injured muscle, and you're feeling pain to the point that it creates discomfort, then you're doing it too hard; back off.

  14. #14
    Number10
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    I find it hard to believe you can tear a hamstring riding a bike. I'd get a sports physician to look at it and rule out any underlying medical condition.

    I've had a number of hamstring tears playing soccer. The serious ones renders walking impossible without feeling pain. The minor ones allows walking but no sprinting.
    "Football is not a matter of life and death...it's more important than that"

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  15. #15
    It's Good For You!
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    I'd hit the weights really hard...
    16oz. curls...with walking at night.
    Ski Good or Eat Wood

  16. #16
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    I found this information doing a web search, Physiotherapist Chris Mallac said "A typical routine for hamstring rehabilitation may be as follows: Start with gentle cycling for 10 minutes followed by five minutes of straight-knee and bowstring stretches."

    I may also need to lower my seat a little.

    The most impotant thing is to warm up before I ride and do some streaching exercises.

    I have no pain right now just an ugly bruise on my leg. I will take it easy for a couple of weeks and then try some easy rides.

    A lot of people recommended a doctor visit. I would do this if there was pain involved. Mine is just a minor tear and I have no problem walking or doing short sprints.
    Yesterday I did a spin bike for 3 minutes with no issue. I really think that in side of a couple of weeks I will be back trying to keep up with people 1/3 my age)

  17. #17
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    Just take it slow. Three months from now when you're feeling great you're not going to find yourself wishing you had pushed it hard after the injory. But if you you overdo it now and end up with a nagging, long-term injury, you'll be kicking yourself later.

  18. #18
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    Stretch

    I suffered a hamstring pull in a similar way, hammering up hills. Actually in my case it was post ride lifting my leg, at first I thought it was just a bad cramp but it lingered on. I took 2 weeks off riding and then started up with easy spins. I was able to increase my riding, but it felt for a long time it was just a hair away from pulling again. It did not get 100% until I took to stretching the hamstring every chance I could (I mean dozens of times a day). In the end I believe it took 6 months to fully recover. Lesson learned the hard way, but I focus on stretching before and after every ride now

  19. #19
    Eddy 53:11
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    I've been riding with damaged strings for years. It is my limiting factor even after years of PT.
    Try PT before anything. I'm a runner and rider for 20 plus years. Never stretched ever, now I do. Too late for two torn strings though. Good luck.
    Live vicariously through yourself.
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  20. #20
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    this weekend I did two short Katy Trail rides, this is a ride with no hills and I also used a fat tire bike for the ride. Each ride was about 30 minutes long. I did streaching before and after each ride.
    I also lowered my saddle some, I think this was part of my problem.
    The leg feels good, it did feel a little tight after the ride on day one and not so tight on day two.
    I am going to continue the easy ride treatment for on more weekend. After that I will try a mild road ride.
    thank you all for your help.

    Tony

  21. #21
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    I find that random strangers often give sound medical advice. Definitely better than any medical professional. Oops, I meant cheaper. Definitely cheaper.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by ddimick View Post
    I find that random strangers often give sound medical advice. Definitely better than any medical professional. Oops, I meant cheaper. Definitely cheaper.
    These are not random strangers.

    What you have here is a community of experienced bike riders, these people are not liars. They will not purposely lead anyone astray.

    There are some on here that don’t have any experience with muscle strain and for them the best advice is to see a doctor.

    Those bike riders that ride have ridden a ton of miles they are the ones that have been there and done that and can give us some very particle tips, such as what caused this problem and what worked for them to prevent this in the future.

    In my case the leg is mending nicely, bruise is going away and there is no pain.
    I have learned the importance of stretching and have added this to my routine. In a couple of weeks I will try a long ride and see what happens.

  23. #23
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    I wasn't saying or even implying that they're liars. It's certainly true that some of the folks around these parts are capable of giving good advice. Figuring out which is the hard part. For example, stretching prior to muscle warmup provides no benefits and could potentially cause harm. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1071358/

    I am glad your leg is feeling better.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by ddimick View Post
    I wasn't saying or even implying that they're liars. It's certainly true that some of the folks around these parts are capable of giving good advice. Figuring out which is the hard part. For example, stretching prior to muscle warmup provides no benefits and could potentially cause harm. Should people stretch before exercise?

    I am glad your leg is feeling better.
    I didn't read the entire article, but generally agree that stretching beforehand isn't a great idea. My doctor first suggested this to me.

    Best part of the paper is the wize-azz picture of Pres. Clinton stretching. I think the guy wrote the entire article as an excuse for using the picture.

  25. #25
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    depending on how bad it is. You can certainly do it with some mild pain...just go soft at first until it warms. Stretch after say 10 minutes. Very softly, no bouncing the leg...and then get back on the saddle and put more intensity. The key is whether it hurts during the work out. If it does very little keep going but soft. If it doesn't put more intensity. After the work out stretch and put and ice for at least 10 minutes.

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