Hamstring strains are caused by rapid contraction or violent stretch of the hamstring muscle group. This results in varying degrees of damage to fibres of one or more of the three hamstring muscles. Injuries are common in sports that are dynamic in nature e.g. soccer, AFL, rugby league.
Hamstrings strains can be assessed and diagnosed clinically, meaning that imaging, such as MRI, is not always a requirement. Our experienced physiotherapists will be able to accurately assess and diagnose your hamstring strain, before prescribing you a rehabilitation regime to get you back to your sport and life.
Physiotherapy treatment is dynamic and will depend on your presentation. The majority of hamstring injuries will receive:
- Therapy in the form of massage and/or mobilisation of the muscles and surrounding joints with the aim of alleviating pain.
- Therapeutic exercise will be a mainstay of treatment and will be prescribed in your first session to begin to rebuild the muscular strength and conditioning. As the muscle heals and pain subsides exercise will be progressed with the aim of returning you to your prior level of fitness/function. Supplementary techniques such as taping and dry needling may also be utilised where appropriate.
The hamstring rehabilitation process can be divided into 3 key stages. These are as follows:
Promote healing and early optimal loading of the injured tissue. The goals of this stage are to protect the early stages of healing that will occur in the muscle while balancing it with minimising muscle atrophy/loss.
Regain full muscle function. This stage consists of regaining pain free strength throughout the full range of motion. Pain free running up to maximal speeds should also be attained in this stage if indicated.
Integrate full sports/life specific participation. This stage will depend heavily on what you as the patient wants to return to (I.e., returning to work versus sport). It will be expected by this point that the patient is pain-free during all activities.