Hamstring injuries are a common injury for athletes in many sports, especially those that involve high speed running, as well as those that involve movements such as kicking and sliding movements (e.g. Rugby, soccer, cricket).
How is this caused?
An injury to this muscle can be caused by;
- Over-loading of the muscle (e.g. when sprinting)
- Over-stretching of the muscle (e.g. kicking high).
- Rapid change in movement resulting in outstretched leg
What do I feel?
- A sharp, stabbing pain in the back of the thigh
- A popping or snapping sensation in the back of the thig
- Swelling and bruising
- Tenderness on the back of the thigh
- Pain when trying to bend your knee or stretch.
What can I do?
- Avoid activities and movements that increase your pain for the first few days
- Compression using an elastic bandage/taping to help decrease swelling
- Elevate the leg as often as possible within the first few day
- Try not to force your leg into pain.
How long will this take to get better?
How long it takes to recover from a hamstring strain depends on several factors, including how the injury occurred, how severe the injury is, where in the hamstrings the injury occurs and what activities you are wanting to get back to doing. Having an assessment after your injury will help determine how long it will take for you to recover, as well as providing a rehabilitation plan that will help you get back to what you enjoy doing, and help reduce the risk of these injuries re-occurring.
How can I reduce the risk of this happening again?
Hamstring injuries can re-occur. A comprehensive rehabilitation plan will include interventions specifically for you to help ensure that the risk of re-injuring yourself is minimised.
Research suggests that strengthening exercises for the hamstrings, particularly eccentric strengthening, can help to reduce the risk of hamstring injuries re-occurring. Appropriate warm-up before sports, as well as flexibility training may also be of benefit.