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Acupuncture for High Hamstring Strain aka Runner’s Butt


One of the most common injuries runners face is “Runner’s Butt”. Runner’s Butt or a high hamstring  strain happens when the high hamstring which is attached to the ischial tuberosity at the top of the thigh dysfunctions. When this muscle becomes injured it can be difficult to even sit, let only run. The high hamstring is a primary muscle used by runners so the risk of overuse is very high. There are many things that can attribute to Runner’s Butt; changing a training program, turning tightly on a track or integrating hills into your track all play a role in hamstring injury. Also if there is any asymmetry in the pelvic area or excess mobility in the lower back, you can be sure it can contribute to Runner’s Butt.


You will know if you have Runner’s Butt if you have localized pain in the hamstring/gluteus area.

However some other symptoms can crop up including over tightness in the hamstring, clicking or crepitus in hip flexors, swelling and weakness of the area. It’s common for people with spine and pelvis issues to be diagnosed with Runner’s Butt, so assessing these areas in addition to treating the muscles surrounding it is important. Some treatment options include soft tissue massage, eventual eccentric hamstring and gluteus medius and maximus strengthening and stretching, spine and pelvis physical therapy, and acupuncture. Acupuncture has become a popular therapy in the running world. It works by releasing tension in the muscles and by opening energetic meridians of the body, promoting healing and rehabilitation. Ultimately, rest is the most important plan of action for this type of injury.


If you think you may have Runner’s Butt, start by relaxing and resting the area. Next, try a high hamstring stretch (described below). If your hamstrings are still in pain, you may want to turn to a physical therapist or acupuncturist to aid in the healing process.


High Hamstring Stretch:


  1. Engage glutes and squat, placing hands underneath balls of the feet
  2. Slowly straighten knees
  3. Hold for approximately one second
  4. Squat back down
  5. Repeat sequence 15-20 times, 2-3 times a day

I have some great techniques for treating the dreaded high hamstring strain.  Every year with Rock and Roll Marathon I get an wave of new patients coming in after the run for Runners Butt, shin splints, low back pain, neck pain, foot pain… you name it!  Conveniently I’m located just across the street from Balboa Park- the site of the start for the San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon.  I’ll be out there to cheer you on!

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