Hamstring injuries are a tear or strain to the muscle or tendon structure in either of the three hamstring muscles (bicep femoris, semitendinosis or semimembranosis). They are the most common cause of injury in the AFL and are associated with the greatest loss of player game time. They continue to increase in sports despite extensive research and investigations. They usually occur during a deceleration action during sprinting and most likely towards the end of playing time..
The most significant risk factor for injury is previous hamstring injury.
Previous injury is associated with :
Formation of scar tissue
Reduced eccentric strength
Altered movement patterns and lower limb biomechanics
The high association with previous injury highlights the need for effective treatment and more focused long term rehabilitation plans. There has also been significant evidence for prevention programs that address modifiable risk factors.
Hamstring Strain Symptoms
Hamstring strains vary greatly. You can have a mild strain, up to a grade 3 muscle tear. The symptoms are variable. You may experience a very sharp intense pain with running, or just a dull ache that builds up. Some people describe a pinching sensation. Either way, you will feel a loss of power, loss of explosiveness, pain on resisted muscle use and poor athletic performance.
At Melbourne Sports Physiotherapy, we are committed to addressing these factors as part of your rehab program, with a focus on:
Flexibility in the hamstring and surrounding musculature
Adverse neural tension
Imbalance between quads and hamstring strength
Overload in training programs
Returning to high speed running
For people with persistent hamstring pain and dysfunction that is not recovering in 4-8 weeks, it is important that you receive a proper sports physiotherapy assessment, as the symptoms in your hamstring may be referred pain, and not actually be the hamstring as the source. In these cases, it is usually the lumbar spine and neural tissue that are generating the pain.