13 Mar The HAMSTRING tear
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You’re at footy training, the coach has you running one hundreds and as you try to slow down on run number eight you feel a sharp ‘ping’ in the back of your thigh… Your movement is immediately compromised and the pain dramatically increases as you limp off the training paddock.
Or… you’re a dancer, mid routine, when you over stretch and feel that same uncomfortable feeling in the back of your thigh. As the pain increases, your ability to stretch your leg decreases… What could it be, and what do you do now!?
The hamstring muscles group comprises of three muscles that collectively start at the crease of your back side, and run down to connect past the inside and outside of your knee.
Because the hamstrings cross two joints in the body, means that they,
Assist with hip extension (straightening the hip)
Assist with knee flexion (bending the knee)
As mentioned last week, unfortunately joints that cross two joints, are more susceptible to muscle injuries, as opposed to the muscles that just cross one joint.
When we run, our hamstrings play a huge role in acceleration and deceleration, which is why they’re mainly injured during these two phases of a run cycle. When our foot is pushing off the ground, the hamstrings and glutes help provide horizontal force across the ground (important for acceleration), and when we slow down, they help control the knee flexion moment, to ensure we get our foot back on the ground to take off again.
Hamstrings operate most optimally when they’re “long and strong” which means they’re not tight and they have the capacity to carry out the tasks we ask them to.
One of the risk factors that we believe contributes to hamstring tears is running technique.
When we run and start to fatigue, we start to develop ‘running errors’ such as over striding, heel striking, stumbling patterns and anterior (forward) pelvic tilt. These errors abnormally load the hamstring muscles, making them more susceptible to injury.
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As discussed in last weeks blog, if you sustain a hamstring tear the RICE & NO HARM principles should be applied immediately. Physiotherapy treatment can be started on the day of the injury, with a focus on firstly restoring range of motion, then strength, before moving on to sport specific rehabilitation, with a focus on preventing a recurrence.
At Stride we’ve treatment a large number of patients and athletes who have been unfortunate enough to sustain a hamstring tear. We understand that a number of hamstring injuries re-occur which is why we strongly focus on muscle length, strength and running technique.