Ah, my Hammy!

The hamstring strain, something we see often as physiotherapists. A hamstring strain is an overextension injury that can be a common injury from sports, especially in sports like football, running and dancing. There are two types of hamstring strain that can occur which typically have slightly different prognosis and rehabilitation time.

So why do we always pull our hamstrings with sports?

Considering biomechanics for a moment, the hamstring structure is most at risk of injury during a “terminal swing phase”, where the muscle highly activated during the movement. We also see overextension of the muscle or lengthening relating to excessive hip flexion

You may have seen that image of AFLW playing Tayla Harris and her incredible high kick, but did you know that a hamstring injury is the most common injury in ALF? And because we all can’t have amazing flexion and extension like Tayla, hamstring injuries will continue to be a common sporting injury.

Image 1: @michaelcwillson and @aflwomens

Managing a hamstring injury

For acute management: We recommend using Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation for acute hamstring injuries to start with. Icing is recommended for 10-15 minutes as tolerated on and off for 3-4 hours. Compression can come from a product like tubigrip.

There is also evidence for doing controlled rehabilitation during the early phase, however it is best to follow your physiotherapist’s guide for this, as this will be dependent on your injury.

Rehabilitation for a hamstring injury

Rehabilitation should be guided by physiotherapist and can include soft-tissue treatment and stretching to help manage any loss to range of motion.

Strengthening of the hamstring will be required within your rehabilitation with aims of prevention of another injury. You can visit a physiotherapist to get a personalized exercise program for hamstring rehabilitation so you can get back to your sport.

Preventing a hamstring injury

If you have already had history of hamstring injuries, you may be at a higher risk of re-injury. It is important to maintain hip and hamstring flexibility as well as ensure proper warm up and form within your exercise.

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