Hamstring Injuries and how to treat them.

Last week in clinic an elite level sprinter visited Jon for advise on a suspected hamstring injury. This is a very common injury he sees in footballers and track athletes so he will use this case study to discuss the best management for hamstring tears.

Where are the Hamstring muscles and why are they important?

The hamstrings are a highly complex system of large muscles positioned at the back of the thigh. There are actually 4 separate areas of the hamstring muscles as shown in diagram below.

They are very important for any sports that involve fast explosive sprinting activities. The most important function of the hamstrings is actually to slow down the leg as it is accelerates forward by the strong quadriceps muscles. Not just bend the knee as commonly described in rehabilitation videos. This has very important implications when it comes to rehabilitation exercises as described later.

The most common scenario Jon sees in clinic is the patient describes instant severe pain often combined with an audible popping sound during a sprint movement.

The most common areas to develop pain are one of 3 regions as shown by arrows below:

What to do in the initial stages?

If there is a lot of bruising within 72 hours then it is advisable to get a scan on the injury in order to accurately diagnose the grade of tear and predict the likely time out of sport. Ultrasound scans are excellent for detecting muscle tears and can help predict return to play times.

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