Injured: Left Hamstring Enthesitis

This was the hill that did me in--look at that *actual* pain face.

This was the hill that did me in–look at that *actual* pain face.

For a few weeks leading up to the Runner’s World Half & Festival weekend my left hamstring had been sore. I thought it was just the normal aches and pains of marathon training—no big deal, I can tough it out!

But then, during the 10K at the RW Half weekend, I started noticing more pain in my hamstring, a different, sharper pain. And then during the half marathon, my hamstring up and quit on me and I had my first DNF.

Originally, I decided to DNF because I thought it was the smart thing to do. I thought, I have New York in two weeks, I should just call it quits now and save it for the marathon. It would have been much smarter to give myself a few extra rest days weeks ago when I first started feeling the pain but hindsight is 20-20, right?

I dropped out just after the 6-mile marker and a very long climb up a steep-ish hill that caused the hamstring to scream. When I got to the medical tent back at the starting line, the head doctor said it was most likely a strain but could be worse, an avulsion fracture, which is basically when the hamstring pulls away from the pelvic bone and actually breaks the bone. That freaked me out.

So, I followed the doctor’s orders, iced it and took a week off from running. He said if it didn’t feel better, I should go see a primary care sports medicine doctor, which is exactly what I did today. The great news is I didn’t fracture my pelvic bone but I do have hamstring enthesitis, which is inflammation of the hamstring where it connects to the ischial tuberosity. Ouch!

When I asked the doctor if he thought I could still run the NYC Marathon this weekend he said definitely not. Right now it hurts to sit on hard surfaces for an extended period of time and when I try to run the sharp pain presents almost immediately.

I’m super bummed to be missing the marathon. I’ve logged more than 440 miles over the past 16 weeks to get ready for this race. I’ve done some of my best speed workouts, had two solid 20-milers, and was looking forward to running through the Big Apple but I failed at the number one rule of running—I didn’t listen to my body. This will be a lesson for me, that’s for sure but I rather miss out on 26.2 miles through New York City than risk it and possibly do more, long-term damage. So no New York City Marathon for me. No running for me for awhile actually. I’m going to start physical therapy this week and hopefully I’ll be back on the roads soon.

Have you ever had hamstring enthesitis, high hamstring tendinopathy, or a proximal hamstring injury? Any advice is more than welcome!

10 thoughts on “Injured: Left Hamstring Enthesitis

  1. Aw, that really sucks, I’m so sorry! I’ve never had hamstring issues but I’ve dealt with post tibial tendinitis and it was the worst injury because it was nagging forever. Feel better soon and don’t rush back into anything!

  2. Bummer! I had high hamstring tendinopathy- beware it’s persistent. I healed via flat running (treadmill 0%) & strength (bridges- not dead lifts & no squats for some time). NOT running seemed to make mine worse. I also ended up needing friction massage on the tendon itself (SUPER awkward) via a chiropractor.

    Look for the underlying cause. For me, my si joint was getting knocked out of place from sitting tensely with poor posture in a bad chair all day at my job. This meant my hip joint wouldn’t rotate properly (or at all) and caused my hamstring & tendon to be strained.

    I replaced the chair, took walk breaks during the work day and kept the workday at 8 hours and I healed.

    For the return to hills and outdoor running I did extended warm ups indoors- whether in a treadmill or a stationary bike. I even would sit on a heating pad- one does what one must.

    Oh & a note on stretching- the bending over to reach your toes stretch was nooooo good for me. Nor was the seated in a v, one leg at a time version of that stretch. The best stretches were 1.) prop one leg on a table and gently lean towards my toes and 2.) eventually I could stand with one leg crossed over the other and bend down and reach my toes. Switch, repeat.

    Hope you heal quickly!

  3. I’ve just spent the last 10 months with a hamstring injury. I tried everything: physio, osteopath, massage – each helped in different ways. I changed to a sport physiotherapist and saw major improvements. I managed to run one race this year (half marathon two weeks ago) but had pain after. For me, I have to strengthen my glutes, lower abs and hamstrings to not have it hurt anymore.
    Sorry you are missing your marathon….I understand how hard that is after missing 4 races this year because of my hamstring. Sure hope you heal well and get good treatment.

  4. I am so sorry you have to miss NYC Hannah, but hopefully you can still enjoy the day cheering for the runners. It stinks to miss races, but getting healed for the long term is way more important. Sometimes as runners, we hate to give up anything during a training cycle and those little pains here and there can turn in to big problems. I was out for a month this summer with calf pain and hated every minute. Biking and swimming kept me fit, but it wasn’t the same as running.

  5. UGH I am SO SORRY to read this, Hannah! I strained my calf at Runner’s World and stupidly finished – now, I might not be able to run my marathon on 11/7. It is so frustrating to put all of that work in for something like this to happen. Absolutely heartbreaking. Trust me when I say I know how you feel – because I really do :(

  6. Ugh, so sorry to hear this. Definitely a bummer you’re injured and won’t be able to run NYC- there is no way around that one. I hope that physical therapy helps, in the mean time hang in there as best you can (easier said than done, I know)

  7. That totally sucks, Hannah! I can’t imagine the frustration around missing NYC. But your health is more important and there will always be another marathon. Your training definitely wasn’t for nothing. Your next marathon will feel that much sweeter.

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