How to prevent a hamstring strain
Bolton head physio Andy Mitchell on the dreaded thigh-tweak and what you can do to avoid it
Where exactly does it hurt?
If you’ve suffered a hamstring strain, you will feel at least one of four symptoms: a sudden, sharp pain in the back of the leg; the muscle will go into spasm; bruising and swelling will appear; and if it’s a bad tear, you will feel a split in the muscle.
1 So what exactly is happening in there?
The injury is usually sustained when performing sharp, quick movements, like running, jumping or stretching for a ball. When the injury is suffered the muscle fibres that make up the hamstring are overstretched, causing bleeding and bruising.
2 Don’t worry, it’s not going to kill you…
A grade-one strain will heal quickly and the player will return in a week or so. Depending on the extent of the damage, a player who has suffered a grade-two hamstring strain can be sidelined for two to eight weeks. A grade-three strain takes more than eights weeks to heal and up to four months before the player is back to full fitness.
3 How to stop it happening in the first place
It goes without saying that good warm-up and warm-down routines are imperative. If you want to avoid any hamstring problems, introduce strengthening exercises to your routine, for example hamstring kicks, squats and lunges. Flexibility exercises also increase the suppleness of hamstrings – yoga is excellent for this.