Hamstring strains are commonly seen in running and kicking sports and are characterised by partial or complete tearing of one or more of the hamstring muscles located at the back of the thigh.The hamstrings comprises of 3 muscles: biceps femoris, semimembranosus and semitendinosus.
The hamstrings attach from your pelvis down to the top of your lower leg bones (just below the back of your knee). Their role is to bend your knee, extend your hip and help in stabilising the pelvis.
A hamstring strain or tear occurs when excessive tension is placed through the muscle due to too much repetition or a high amount of force. Hamstring strains commonly occur due to a sudden contraction of the hamstring
muscles when they are in a position of stretch. Common activities are rapid acceleration whilst running (sprinting) or when a footballer performs a long kick. Hamstring strains are more likely to occur following an inadequate warm up or when the athlete is more fatigued.
Hamstring strains are graded from grade 1 to 3 and are characterised by the following:
Typically symptoms include a sudden sharp pain or pulling sensation in the back of the thigh during the provocative activity. With a minor strain, the athlete may be able to continue their activity and notice an increase in symptoms later that day or the following morning. In more severe cases, continued activity is unlikely and the athlete will typically need to cease playing/participation. Aggravating activities may include walking (especially uphill), going up and down stairs, running, jumping, kicking and stretching the hamstring.
The physiotherapist will perform a full assessment to determine the grade of the strain and formulate an appropriate treatment plan, typically incorporating a combination of manual therapy and sport-specific exercise based rehabilitation. The physiotherapist will also identify any predisposing factors to be addressed to reduce the likelihood of recurrence.
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