Have you strained your hamstring recently? Must read article!
This blog post is essential for those who have recently strained or "pulled" a hamstring muscle. Here we'll cover the common causes, types of strain, include what's to be expected and what needs to be accomplished in the early, mid and end stages of the rehabilitation process.
Causes/Mechanism of injury:
Hamstring strains are generally caused by an excessive load or stretch to the hamstring muscle. These mechanisms cause a high amount of stress placed through the hamstrings, resulting in damage to the muscular fibres.
Hamstring strains are common in sports involving jumping, quick decelerating and accelerating, kicking and sprinting.
Check out the hamstring anatomy picture below! Did you know there are in fact 3 different hamstring muscles?
Hamstring strains can generally be characterised into 3 grades:
Amount of fibres damaged
Few fibres damaged
Approx 1/2 the fibres have been damages/torn
More than 1/2 the fibres are ruptured/torn
Likely affected acutely
Highly likely affected
Pain may be present at the site of the strain at rest, and worse on palpation
Pain felt at the time of the injury. Likely pain at the site of the strain, worse on palpation and with gait.
Pain felt at the time of injury, pain at the side of the tear, worse on palpation, pain with gait
Hamstring strength when being tested by a therapist
Likely to be weak and potentially causing pain to the site of strain
Moderate amounts of weakness and pain
Large amounts of weakness and pain
Potential (depending on the person)
Likely, but depends on the person
Highly likely + swelling
Phase 1 - Early Management
Promote healing of the damaged tissue
Rest and appropriate loading of structures
Reduce strength loss
Continue use of adjacent muscles
Maintain range of motion
Continue use of adjacent joints
Avoid dysfunctional gait pattern
Avoid excessive lengthening of the hamstrings