Hi Guys and Girls,
We thought we would just post a quick blog about hamstring strains and provide some simple little management tips.
What is a hamstring strain?
Hamstring strains are very common in team sports such as AFL, rugby, soccer and field hockey.
These injuries often happen when the hamstring is asked to perform explosive work in a stretched position such as taking off for a sprint or jumping. We often grade these strains on a 3 point system that referrs to the amount of disruption to the muscle fiber.
- Grade 1: pulling of the muscle fibers with minimal tearing or disruption
- Grade 2: slight tearing of the muscle fibers
- Grade 3: complete disruption of the muscle fibers
Naturally the higher the grade the longer the return to sport and the higher the level of initial disability. There are a number of other factors that have been identified for rough return to sport timeframes including:
- Previous hamstring strain in the last 12 months
- > 30 years old
- Number of days walking with a limp
- Active knee extension deficit
- Level and demands of chosen sport
How Do We Manage Hamstring Strains?
The first 72 hours should be managed using the PRICE and HARM methods as for any sprain or strain. Strength and ROM deficits should be addressed and progressed with the demands of the sport in mind. This means that there is no magic exercise nor program that would be suitable for everyone.
That being said there is one exercise that has been researched extensively and has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of future hamstring strains when incorporated into a rehabilitation or prevention program. This exercise is called a nordic hamstring curl and you can check it out here: https://youtu.be/pDraDi4_2XI
How Should I Return To Sport?
Gradually. Before return to sport you should have:
- Full range of motion
- Minimal to no pain/apprehension
- No swelling
- Good strength and power
- Full sprint capacity
- Completed graded return to training and competition