Should I see a physio if I have injured my hamstring?
So, you’ve injured your hamstring. What do you do now? The answer: see a sports physiotherapist that specializes in the management of hamstring injuries.
Hamstring strain injuries continue to be one of the most prevalent injuries seen in athletes involved in sports requiring high speed running/chasing/change or direction. They can also happen traumatically, for example slipping and falling into a “splits” position. Hamstring strains have a very high risk of re-injury, with research showing that up to one third of hamstring strain injuries will recur within the first 4 weeks of returning back to sport.Therefore, it is crucial that hamstring rehabilitation is comprehensive, completed in full and includes injury prevention strategies.
What will a physiotherapist do for a Hamstring strain or tear?
A physiotherapist will thoroughly assess your hamstring to determine the type of injury, extent of damage, location of damage and prognosis for returning to sport. Hamstring injuries can vary from tightness or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS), to referred pain from the back or back-related hamstring injuries, to damage to the muscle fibres or tendon of the hamstring muscles. If the hamstring muscle tissue is determined to be the cause of the pain, the physiotherapist will be able to grade to damage from a grade 1 (minor tissue damage), grade 2 (more significant damage) to grade 3 (complete rupture). This can commonly be done without the use of further investigation such as MRI scans. Your physiotherapist may, however, recommend you have an MRI in the case of a more serious injury that seems to involve the proximal or central tendon of the hamstring. These injuries can take longer to heal and, in rare cases, can require a surgical opinion.
Hamstring strain and physiotherapy.
Once the correct diagnosis has been made, a management plan can be put in place to help recover from the injury, regain the strength in the muscle and introduce sport-specific exercises in the preparation for return to sport. Minor hamstring strains may take 3 weeks to rehabilitate, while more severe strains that involve the tendon can take significantly longer. It is vital to ensure that the rehabilitation is completed, meaning all phases are covered from initial strengthening to return to running, strength progressions, speed progressions and return to sport. If any phase is missed or not completed, the risk of re-injury will increase. Upon return to sport, due to the high risk of recurrent injury, a prevention program should be put in place to minimize this risk and ensure you stay out on the field, court or running track!
How to prevent hamstring muscle injury?
If hamstring tightness is the primary issue, a physiotherapist can assist with strategies to ensure a muscle injury does not occur. This can involve identifying and correcting strength deficits and prescribing a return to running program with graduated increased in speed and agility to ensure the muscle tissue is coping with the load. This will ensure that a sudden increase in loading through the hamstring does not result in a strain injury.
If you are suffering from hamstring pain or believe you have strained or damaged you hamstring, come and see one of our sports physiotherapists at Melbourne Sports Physiotherapy who will be highly experienced in managing similar injuries.
Melbourne Sports Physiotherapy
Melbourne Sports Physio has a range of qualified and experienced professionals who can help provide ongoing support and treatment. Our friendly team are located across Melbourne in Essendon, North Melbourne and Blackburn South, and appointments can be made by calling or booking online.