It hot enough to be any desert and the asphalt road is shimmering with radiant heat. I can see the water station just ahead. I know it is there, its not a mirage. I remove my sun glasses and wipe the caked sand-salt combination from my head, my bandana dripping like the humid air we're all running in.
And pop. Stumble. Pain.
One misstep while approaching the water station at mile 8 of the Shoreline Half Marathon (July 2015) and my left hamstring is a knotted mess that has me limping (staggering, really). Hopes of a personal best (defined as under two hours) drift off and are replaced by hopes of finishing.
I did finish those last four-miles on that humid 88 degree day. The real problems started after crossing the finish line.
My left leg hasn't been the same since. The hamstring resolved after a week but the lower leg and knee pain persisted bad enough to keep me awake many nights and keep my training to a minimum. Although I've been able to complete two more half marathons since the injury, the times have not been what I should be doing. I've had some ups and downs but haven't been able to get back to the level of training I need to because of the pain.
That is until the other day...
I was doing some research for a client with a patellar tracking issue and referenced several taping methods. While looking over the use of compression for deep soft tissue injury (for a separate client) I had a crazy idea...combine the two...tape the joint between the original site of injury and compress the soft tissue below at the site of cramping and fasciculation. Since I've had some success with compression pants in the recent past, it made sense to try. My local specialty running store had a sale on compression sleeves, too!
|Modified McConnell and KT technique|
Here are the results:
Within the first 24 hours lower leg pain was reduced by 75% (note that I never had knee pain). Adding compression on a rotation basis for several hours during the day slowed the lower leg cramps and improved sleep as well. After one week the muscle cramping is nearly nonexistent. Lower leg pain remains intermittent but I feel as if I could run...soon.
Injured? Stop running, stupid. I've been dealing with this for nearly six-months. I should have backed off completely and did some research in July rather than the standard rest/ice/NSAID.