Hamstring strains are one of the most common injuries across a variety of sports e.g., AFL, soccer, sprinting, dance etc. The severity of the strain can range from very mild (grade 1), to very severe (grade 3). There are numerous risk factors that can increase your chance of sustaining a hamstring strain including age, muscle fatigue, imbalance in hamstring and quad strength, decreased flexibility, and coordination/ strength deficit in the trunk muscles. Although all of these play a role in trying to predict a hamstring injury the major player is a prior strain. Once you have had a strain no matter how severe the re-injury risk is 2-6 times higher! So as the saying goes prevention is always better than cure!

Grade 1: minimal damage to the muscle, little/no strength loss. 1-3 weeks recovery

Grade 2: Moderate strain, more pain, partial loss of strength, change in walking pattern, bruising may be present. 4-8 weeks recovery.

Grade 3: Total tear of the muscle, severe pain, complete loss of strength and function, unable to walk on affected leg, surgery is usually required. Recovery 3-6 months

After we have identified the type of strain ,it is important to start the rehabilitation process ASAP. This can be broken up into 3 phases.

Phase 1: Minimise pain and swelling, limit loss of muscle mass

Phase 2: Regain pain-free hamstring ROM and strength, develop control of trunk and pelvis

Phase 3: All activities symptom free, normal strength through full ROM, improve trunk and pelvis control, return to sport.

Throughout rehab it is important to follow a highly individualised program tailored to your needs and progress, which should include the following:

  • Graded exposure to high-speed running, aiming to hit your max speed 2x per week. This can be done by short sharp efforts slowly increase as you get stronger and faster.
  • Strengthening your hamstrings in a variety of different ways. Using a combination of machines and free weights to increase strength in those hamstrings. The use of leg curls, Romanian deadlifts and Nordics are some of the best ways to get started!
  • Listening to your body knowing when it is telling you something is not okay, don’t just assume they are “tight”, this can be a warning sign that you need to scale back your training regime. It is crucially important to have a balanced and thought-out training schedule e.g. avoiding having gym work and high speed sprinting on the same day as this can increase the risk of a strain as the muscles are fatigued after lower body strength training.

If you have recently suffered a hamstring strain or have ongoing hamstring issues book in and come have it looked at so one of our great staff can get you feeling and moving well!