Hamstring Strains

Hamstring strains can be a very frustrating injury for any footballer from local suburban players all the way up to the very elite. They frequently result in the player missing several weeks and upon the player returning they often don’t feel quite right with clearly hindered performance or they re-injure themselves with an even longer stint on the sidelines to follow. This is usually due to either inadequate rehabilitation or returning to play too soon. Hamstring strains are the most common injury in Australian Rules Football and occur frequently in other football codes such as soccer and rugby, Additionally, hamstring strains have an extremely high rate or re-occurrence with studies showing up to 34% of players will re-strain their hamstring. Risk Factors There are multiple risk factors that can lead to an increased likelihood of straining a hamstring include: Previous lower limb injury If you have previously injured a calf, knee or groin you are more susceptible to straining a hamstring Age Between the ages of 23-25 the risk of you sustaining a hamstring strain increases by more than 4 times! Reduced hamstring strength If you don’t regularly do hamstring strengthening exercises it is most likely this muscle is quite weak leaving you at a risk of straining it Reduced hamstring flexibility Are you one of those individuals who can’t touch your toes? If you fit into this category then you’re an increased chance of straining your hamstring. Inadequate rehabilitation If following a previous strain you decided to just rest for few weeks before returning it is likely you’re a ticking time-bomb for another hamstring strain. Proper rehabilitation involved careful assessment and planning from a qualified physiotherapist in order to ensure your return to play is not short lived and your performance is optimal Rehabilitation If you have experienced a hamstring strain the first step is to visit one of our expert clinicians in order to undergo a meticulous assessment of your injury to determine the best course of action. Following this your physiotherapist will plan out an individualised rehabilitation plan in order to have you return as quick and in as best shape as possible. This rehabilitation will include some of the following:
  • Rest, ice, compression and elevation to minimise the bleeding into the injured area.
  • Early mobilisation of the muscle to minimise any losses of strength and flexibility.
  • Soft tissue treatment to aid healing, reduce scar tissue and keep the healing muscle tissue in the healthiest condition as possible.
  • Progressive strengthening and stretching regime to ensure the hamstring is as strong and flexible as possible upon return.
  • Planning out of an individualised running program and
Prevention If any of the above risk factors sound familiar then you’re at a high risk of sustaining a hamstring strain during your chosen sport.  In order to avoid those frustrating stints on the sidelines and to break the cycle of injury after injury it is best to consult with a physiotherapist. Our clinicians our experts on injury prevention and would conduct a thorough assessment and plan out a proven preventative program that would go a long way to an injury free season. This could include things such as strengthening of the muscle, stretching protocol to improve flexibility and hands on treatment to ensure correct alignment of your lower back, hips and knees to ensure the hamstring is working efficiently. [1-9] 1.         Arnason, A., et al., Prevention of hamstring strains in elite soccer: an intervention study. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 2008. 18(1): p. 40-48. 2.         Liu, H., et al., Injury rate, mechanism, and risk factors of hamstring strain injuries in sports: A review of the literature. Journal of Sport and Health Science, 2012. 1(2): p. 92-101. 3.         Askling, C., J. Karlsson, and A. Thorstensson, Hamstring injury occurrence in elite soccer players after preseason strength training with eccentric overload. Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, 2003. 13(4): p. 244-250. 4.         Malliaropoulos, N., et al., Reinjury After Acute Posterior Thigh Muscle Injuries in Elite Track and Field Athletes. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 2011. 39(2): p. 304-310. 5.         Brockett, C.L., D.L. Morgan, and U. Proske, Human hamstring muscles adapt to eccentric exercise by changing optimum length. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 2001. 33(5): p. 783-790. 6.         Malliaropoulos, N., et al., The role of stretching in rehabilitation of hamstring injuries: 80 athletes follow-up. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 2004. 36(5): p. 756-759. 7.         Foreman, T.K., et al., Prospective studies into the causation of hamstring injuries in sport: A systematic review. Physical therapy in sport : official journal of the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Sports Medicine, 2006. 7(2): p. 101-109. 8.         Freckleton, G. and T. Pizzari, Risk factors for hamstring muscle strain injury in sport: a systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 2013. 47(6): p. 351-358. 9.         Prior, M., M. Guerin, and K. Grimmer, An Evidence-Based Approach to Hamstring Strain Injury: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Sports Health: A Multidisciplinary Approach, 2009. 1(2): p. 154-164.    
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