Hamstring strains are regularly seen in a number of sports, the most common being professional football. It’s an injury that has a high recurrence rate, especially within the first 2 weeks after the client returns to sport (RTS). The high recurrence rate occurs due to inadequate rehabilitation, an early return to sport or both. Because it’s a common injury, it would be helpful to understand the mechanism, risk factors and the correct return to sport.
Types of Hamstring Strains:
Type 1: Sprinting – related
This type of hamstring injury commonly occurs during sprinting and other sports that involve kicking, jumping and high speed skilled movements (football, rugby, track & soccer). The onset of pain is sudden and causes the athlete to stop. Some bruising can be seen with marked tenderness, the injury site is usually around the mid-thigh.
Type 2: Stretch – related
This occurs in sports that involve the excessive lengthening of the hamstring such as dancing and gymnastics. This injury is located close to the insertion of the muscle onto the ischial tuberosity (sit bone) where the muscle meets the tendon.
The symptoms are less severe than type 1 injuries.
Risk factors for hamstring injuries are:
- A previous hamstring injury
- An imbalance in hamstring strength that either produces a contraction to move the leg (Concentric Strength) versus a contraction that slows movement of the leg down (eccentric strength)
- Reduced quadriceps (front thigh) muscle flexibility
Important points about strengthening as part of rehabilitation
After the initial injury stage, it’s important to strengthen the hamstring so that the injury doesn’t recur.
Three out of four muscles in the hamstring group are two-joint muscles (crosses hip and knee). It’s recommended to involve exercises that include simultaneous hip and knee movements so that we strengthen these muscles as they work across the two joints.
The importance of eccentric training
Eccentric exercises where we control a de-loading of the muscle, have also been shown to be effective in developing strength as well as preventing injury. Specific exercises to focus on this should be included in your program.
When you start your rehab program with your best Physio near me make sure they incorporate these different types of training to enhance your conditioning and prevent your injury from recurring.
This blog was written by Nandini, Physio from the Parkside practice. To make a booking with Nandini press the button that’s the below.