The feeling of dread. Mid stride running and suddenly you feel it. The hamstring twinge! You pull up short mid stride. Part of you hopes its just a cramp. The rest of you knows you’ve done it again- pulled your hamstring!
Lets explore hamstring tears, what they are and what to do about it.
The hamstrings are a large group of muscles at the back of the thigh. The muscles can be injured at any point but are most vulnerable where the tendon and muscle fibres join together. This is a common injury for players of all sports that involve running, but particularly those that involve quick movements and kicking.
What are the causes of hamstring tears?
As the hamstrings cross two large joints, they need to perform complicated movements, often activating suddenly and with great force. They are often stretched during a fall, large kick or sudden take-off. Factors that increase the chance of a tear, include poor flexibility and neural mobility. Other factors that contribute to hamstring injuries are muscle imbalances, abnormal lower limb biomechanics, fatigue, and inadequate warm-up. It seems, however, the biggest predictor of a future hamstring tear is a previous hamstring injury.
What are the symptoms?
The most common symptom of a torn hamstring is a sharp pain at the back of the thigh, often immediately after intense activity. There may also be bruising, difficulty walking and pain with knee movements. The symptoms of a hamstring tear can be similar to many other conditions, as the lower back often refers pain to the back of the thigh, mimicking a hamstring tear. This is why it is always important to get an accurate diagnosis!
Your physiotherapist can confirm that the pain is due to a torn hamstring and tell you how bad the tear is. Although not usually required, diagnosis can be confirmed by having an MRI or real-time ultrasound scan.
How can physiotherapy help?
Once a diagnosis has been made, the consultation with your physio will include advice about your recovery, and when it is appropriate to return to sport. Your physiotherapist has many techniques that can promote optimal healing which may include ultrasound, dry needling and massage.
They will also prescribe an exercise program to return strength, flexibility and control to the muscle, getting you back to your sport quickly and safely. Due to the high chance of recurrence, rehabilitation is very important and usually takes 6-12 weeks. Your physio will work with you to help you set goals to get you back to your favourite activities as soon as possible.
Did you know here at Synergy Physio we offer expert physio assessment, exercise physiology and strength and conditioning classes?
We also explore more challenging recurrent sports injuries with a fresh approach using the Connect Therapy TM approach. Find out more about Connect Therapy here .
This simply means we look at the bigger picture as to WHY you might be getting recurrent injury. So although you have recovered from your hamstring tear and completed your strength rehab, there may be other missed factors causing you recurrent injury. This might mean we look at your foot control, your running pattern, your pelvic and hip strength and your thoracic mobility- all of which can influence your recovery!
Collectively we offer you professional expertise and care in for recurrent injury!