By Peter Kipreou & Aneeka Smith, Physiotherapists, Sprout Health Studio, 2nd March 2017.
- The ‘hamstrings’ are a group of three muscles located at the back of the thigh
- Hamstrings cross the hip and knee joints and are responsible for knee flexion and hip extension
- A hamstring strain is described as an overstretching without tearing of the muscle or tendon fibres. It is important that if you are suspecting a hamstring strain, accurate diagnosis is carried out by a Physiotherapist before resuming exercise
- Hamstrings are prone to straining during exercise, with hamstring strains making up 1/3rd of all acute injuries in the general population
- Research shows that hamstring strains increase in prevalence during the later decades of life
- Most hamstring strains occur during a 100% effort sprinting
Hamstring strain risk factors
- Decreased hamstring muscle strength resulting in muscle fatigue during the landing and pushing of phase of running
- Previous hamstring or lower back injury
- Decreased range of motion at the hip joint
- Lack of warm up before intense exercise
- The best evidence for injury prevention in the hamstrings is a sound hamstring strength protocol tailored for you by a Physiotherapist
- Gradual return to sport or activity reduces the likelihood of re-injury by 75%. Focus on an output or milestone approach not a time frame
- Strengthen the posterior chain, this means glut, calf, and hamstring muscles, using functional exercises such as squats, lunges and dead lifts
- Ensure your technique is reviewed by a personal trainer or exercise professional prior to strengthening work.