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Child Orthopedics
Spine - Cervical
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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I am a high school athlete in track and field events. My best event is the 400 meter. Last year I pulled my left hamstring. It's really affected my time. What can I do to get back to full speed?

The 400 meter is the longest of the track events for sprint. Even though it still qualifies as a sprint event, the length of the course requires power, speed, and good technique. The runner has to break fast and push hard until the straight part of the track is reached. The pace is a little more relaxed but picks up again with increasing speed toward the finish line. Hamstring injuries are very common among athletes and sports participants, especially sprinters. They can be very mild or very disabling. Throughout the race, the hamstring muscle carries out two functions. It contracts concentrically to extend the hip and eccentrically to flex the knee. Concentric refers to muscle contractions as the muscle is shortening. An eccentric contraction is the action of a shortened muscle lengthening. At full speed, the hamstring muscle contracts very fast to generate power needed for the run. If there is a preseason loss of muscle strength in either concentric hip extension or eccentric hip flexion, the risk of a hamstring injury goes up. If you are working with an athletic trainer or physical therapist, it would be a good idea to have some muscle testing done. Any muscle deficit or imbalance can be addressed. Training should include weights, circuit training, leg and arm conditioning, plyometrics, and extensive stretching exercises.


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