Stitch

Complete Hamstring Tear in Runner with Long Road to Recovery

What is your story about?
I'm a 54 year old female. In 2015 I had a hamstring avulsion, and ultimately underwent a major repair surgery that left me unable to do pretty much anything for 4 months. The recovery was long and difficult, but I've recovered well and learned some key lessons.
How did your injury occur?
My injury occurred in 2015, at age 49. I was a runner (pavement) for years. I had plenty of warnings and red flags but ignored them. But that Sunday I started out on a low key 5 mile run, I was on the ground before I knew what hit me. MRI showed complete left hamstring tear, it was torn completely off the bone. When I was diagnosed it was like a death sentence, to not be able to run!
What was the hamstring repair surgery like?
Two months later I was having surgery that cut the top of my hamstring, pulled it up, and bolted it to my pelvic bone. Surgery was a breeze, remembered nothing.
How was the recovery process?
The hell of recovery is unbearable. I had no idea how bad it was going to be. It's not the pain, it's the inability to do ANYTHING for a solid 4 months. You're wrapped in a brace that has to be custom made, that goes from under your breasts down to the bottom of your back. It has to be as tight as you can stand it. Then a brace down your leg, and a strap that goes from the back of the wrap down to wrap around your ankle to hold your leg up in a bent position. You can't sit, sleeping was close to impossible, can't use a toilet and no bathing for a month, that's right, sponge baths! I was off w ...(more)
How long until you could return to running?
By February of 2016 I was back to running, but only a few times a week, no hills, very light. Now, it’s improved and I’ve definitely gotten stronger. I have noticed at times if I overdo my workouts, and certain exercises (incline running on the tread) my right hamstring starts to flare up the same way my right one did pre-surgery so I’m very mindful and aware of that.
What advice would you give others with your condition?
Surgery and recovery were nothing short of horrible. Be mindful, it’s a tricky area to heal, requires time so you don’t damage it further. It’s hard to rest when you enjoy something so much. This was a tough lesson, if your body is telling you something, respect it, be kind to it, and give it the rest it needs. Let it heal, ice, and compress! Don’t rush to get back as difficult as that is, believe me, I know. Ask for modifications, there’s always a way to protect it.