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I'm 53 and for the past year have been pushing it slightly. Have always been careful to not push it too hard, but yesterday I got a mild pull in my right hamstring. Just a slight soreness right behind the knee.

Can I keep riding, 5-10 miles a day, at an easier pace without worsening it, or should I stop riding until I can't feel it?

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Thanks for the advice everyone. I'm healing nicely. Just a little more cautious in my middle age than I used to be. I think I'll start stretching before rides as part of my routine. –  obelia Mar 29 '13 at 18:40
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Most folks who have really studied it (vs folks who just repeat a mantra) say (and back up with real research) that stretching before exercise does little good (and maybe some harm). It's far more important to warm up slowly, BEFORE you stretch joints to their maximum extension or stress muscles to their max. –  Daniel R Hicks Mar 30 '13 at 1:10
    
The exercises I was given were pretty specific to the muscles around my knee - before my trips to physio I wasn't aware of any of them (but then that's not my strongpoint). But I was definitely advised that these exercises should happen daily, and are independent of riding. –  PeteH Mar 30 '13 at 9:24

4 Answers 4

up vote 2 down vote accepted

In short, your body will tell you the answer to this.

But what I can say is that I had a problem with one of my knees, right where you say, for a couple of years all told. I cycled all the while, and did nothing about it for a long time (put it down to getting old). However I eventually went to see a physio and was very happy with the results - she prescribed a bunch of exercises to keep the muscles loose. Result was that the pain was relieved and that I didn't need to stop cycling at all.

Still comes back from time to time but I know how to deal with it now.

I know physio can be expensive but in my experience it was very worthwhile - and it only took two visits. I ended up feeling a bit of a fool for waiting so long to make an appointment.

And let's face it 10 miles is not a lot. I'm making a slight assumption about your fitness here, but you shouldn't be feeling anything after that kind of distance.

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Probably best to see a doc.

But it would probably work to lay off for 3-4 days (at least until you can gently cycle without immediate pain), then start up again, being careful to limit the stress on the area. If your pain level stays low then SLOWLY work up, otherwise back off or stop (and see the doc).

You should probably find some stretches (from a PT or maybe on the web) to "balance" the muscles in the area.

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I would take some Motrin. Lay off riding for a few days. Go for gental walks around home. Eat right, drink plenty of water. Then get back on my bike and make a conscious effort to NOT push it for a week or so.

I would not go to the doctor. This injury is common enough to see how others have treated it.

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According to my physical therapist, putting ice packs on the muscle area in pain is the recommended treatment. A large bag of frozen corn or peas secured with an Ace bandage does the trick. Do it for 15 minutes every hour for a couple of hours, be careful about longer times as frostbite is possible.

Stay off the leg as much as possible for a couple of days (length of time depending upon whether you have a class 1, 2 or 3 pull). Google Hamstring stretches and find a U-Tube showing how to do them properly. Stretches are the recommended way to recover and regain your mobility. If it hurts don't do it, muscle pulls need rest (time), ice and stretches to heal properly. It has been my experience that treating a muscle pull like a charley horse can make things much worse.

Ice and stretching and you should be able to ride flat land in a week or so unless you have a class 3 and you won't even think about your bike. You will be following your doctors orders.

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