Hamstrings are a common site of injury for a large range of sports that require dynamic movements like sprinting, changing direction and lunging type of activities such as football, rugby and running.
The hamstrings are a group of three muscles at the back of the thigh. The three muscles separately are called biceps femoris, semitendinosus and semimembranosus, they run from the buttock crease to just below your knee.
A hamstring injury typically causes a sudden, sharp pain in the back of the thigh that may stop you mid-stride. After such an injury you may have difficulty extending the knee without pain. Like most sprains and strains, hamstring injuries are usually caused by excessive stretching (tearing) of muscle fibres or other soft tissues beyond their limits.
Some of the factors which may contribute to a hamstring injury include:
- Doing too much, too soon or pushing beyond your limits
- Tight hip flexors
- Weak gluteal muscles
- Poor flexibility
- Poor muscle strength
- Muscle imbalance between the quadriceps and hamstring muscle groups
- Muscle fatigue that leads to over-exertion
- Improper or no warm-up
- Previous hamstring injury
Treating Hamstring Injuries
Treatment for hamstring injuries depends upon the severity of the injury. Due to the pain and limited ability to use the muscle, more severe injuries may require assessment and treatment by a physiotherapist .The initial treatment steps involve the POLICE protocol (as indicated by our previous blog), followed by a specific rehabilitation program involving strengthening of the muscle in order to prevent re-injury.
Injury prevention tips:
- Warm-up thoroughly– don’t sprint straight away, start with a gentle jog and complete some dynamic stretches (stretches with movement)
- Maintain an adequate level of fitness
- Include stretches, strengthening regime and speed work in your weekly training program
- Gradually increase the intensity and duration of training
- Allow recovery days between training sessions
- Stretch and cool down after training sessions
- Avoid doing too much, too soon
- Avoid drastic increases in intensity or duration, and take it easy if you are fatigued.
Treatment of hamstring injuries is one of our specialties at The Physiotherapy Place. If you want to learn more or speak with an expert physiotherapist about your specific case, get in touch to arrange a FREE 15 minute telephone consultation or book a appointment here.