A Piglet Yank…or what would you like to call it?

Getting really really excited…start jumping around…throw your legs up in the air…do some splits, hurdles, and all kinds of jumping and dancing…mind you without stretching…and what do you have?  Probably one of the more cumbersome and annoying injuries that a runner can get…the ever so wonderful Hammy Pull!!!

Let’s break down this medical wonder.  First off, you of course have your leg…then inside your leg you have muscles…and then in your upper leg, you have your hamstring, which is actually a set of three muscles in the posterior section of the leg (that’s the back!).  They are the muscles that are in the support area of the femur…femur = major leg bone…break femur? = very bad!!!  Hamstring muscles for all the runners out there are very, very, very important.

In fact…remember way back when in elementary school and middle school, when we were all asked to do the Presidential fitness tests?  Well one of those major tests was the sit and reach test.  Your hamstring played a vital role in seeing how flexible we all are.  On a side note…this guy absolutely hated the mile run in that thing…now…not so much…would love to go back and show those fast kids what it’s all about!!!

So where does the “pull” come into this?  Well…pretty simply…over-exert…and you’ll pull the muscle!  There really isn’t much to this one, but as runners have such a competitive nature already built into our systems, we tend to “over-exert” every once in a while.  Especially for those of us who tend to not stretch very often…or ever…oh well.  Literally…spend some time with your muscles and stay within where you should be performing (10 minute mile folks…don’t try and go out and run a 5 minute mile right off the bat), you should be good to go!

As with all pulls…if you hear a pop…stop…please…that’s just gross and weird if you keep going.  Get it checked out for major injuries and internal issues.  Overcompensation could be very bad if you let it go for long.  That’s what doctors are for anyway…right?  The sports medicine industry is unbelievably advanced to this point, that the ever so common hamstring pull (you see it every night on Sportscenter) is pretty commonly taken care of…no matter the degree…yes…there are degrees of hammy pulls. 

Check yourself!  Know your limits.  Know where you are in your training up to that point and don’t be a moron.  Sometimes all of us need a second to step back and relax on our runs.  This might be the time…because if you don’t…you’ll end up with one of the most common running injuries out there…the piglet yank…or otherwise known as the hammy pull.  But please…before you get out there and start messing around with your leg muscles…do us all a favor…begin the stretch…bend your body down…feel the slight strain…and as you do…look down at those things that protect your feet…and lace up!

Photos: http://www.criticalbench.com/exercises/hamstring-exercises.htm; http://www.lollylegs.com/injuries/hamstring_injuries.aspx

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