What are the hamstrings?
- There are three muscles that make up the hamstring group at the back of your thigh
- They bend the knee, help slow you down when running and help with the push off phase of running
What you may feel:
- During exercise/sport is the most common time to injury your hamstring
- It is usually associated with sudden or very strong movements such as: sprinting, kicking, bending over quickly, and occasion all jumping.
The grade and severity of the injury will determine what you feel:
- Grade 1 – A small strain of a few muscle fibres that you may not feel at the time but is sore in your hamstring the next day.
- Grade 2 – Approximately 50% of the muscle is damaged. As you are exercising you may feel an immediate tightening/cramp/ painful sensation in your hamstring. Walking may be painful.
- Grade 3 – A full rupture of the muscle. You may feel immediate pain and cramping in your hamstring. It may be very painful to walk on if some fibres are still intact.
What should you do initially?
You should perform the acronym:
- Protect – Avoid further injury be ceasing exercise
- Rest – Avoid vigorous exercise until cleared by your physiotherapist
- Ice – Every hour place an ice pack on the sore area for 20 minutes
- Compression – Use Tubigrip, skins or another compression garment around your thigh
- Elevation – When resting keep it above your heart level to decrease swelling
- Medicine – After the first 48 hours – anti-inflammatory drugs (Nurofen) and pain relief straight away
You should avoid:
What is the best type of rehabilitation?
Rehabilitation is best guided by your sports medicine doctor and physiotherapist and depends on the severity of your injury and the amount of pain you are in
It can involve local treatment, gentle movements, stretches and strengthening in the initial stage
As your pain decreases and your strength improves you will begin more dynamic running exercises, more difficult strengthening exercises to target the injured muscle and you core stability.
How long before you return to sport?
It depends on the severity of the injury and how compliant you are with your rehabilitation –
- Grade 1 – 1-3 weeks
- Grade 2 – 4-6 weeks
- Grade 3 – surgery and >6 weeks
Re-occurrence of hamstring Injuries is very common.
This is mainly due to a return to sudden or very strong movements such as: sprinting, kicking, bending over quickly, prior to the injury healing properly.
Hamstring injuries will usually feel substantially better 1-2 weeks prior to them actually having healed sufficiently to return to these activities.
Check with your physiotherapist or sports doctor prior to returning to full activity.
For further information, see your local Lifecare practitioner.
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