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Don't get strung out

Symmetry Physio - Friday, August 17, 2018

Preventing Chronic Hamstring Tears

DON'T GET STRUNG OUT: Preventing Chronic Injuries

Hamstring strains are the most common injury in running-based sports such as Aussie rules and soccer. Such is the regularity, footy commentators now make calls like "that looks like a 3-4 week hamstring." The injury has really made its mark on some athlete's careers, particularly in the AFL, with players suffering multiple re-injuries and never really reaching their potential. In elite soccer in Europe, they estimate that each injury costs the club approximately € 280,000 in injury.

Often in a clinic, we hear things like, "I pulled a hammy, I rested 3 weeks and then went back to play. It felt great but it happened again." While resting for a few weeks and allowing your hamstring to heal sounds sensible, in fact, the hamstring needs to be put through a series of strengthening exercises and tested repeatedly to ensure the hamstring can cope with the rigours of a full match. Resting for a few weeks would do more harm than jogging or training at light intensity.

The biggest factor for a hamstring is a previous hamstring injury. This often leads to a shorter, weaker hamstring. However, the good news is that with the appropriate exercises, we can make our hamstrings strong and long again. Reasonably, you might think that stretching will help you get longer hamstring muscle, but the evidence does not support this. Evidence now supports eccentric biased exercises. These are exercises like the Nordic hamstring exercises, Hip tension and Romanian deadlift. They help to increase the length of the fibres that make up the hamstring complex while also making them stronger.

These exercises have been shown to decrease re-injury rates. One study of over 900 Danish soccer players showed that those who rehabilitated their hamstring with the Nordic hamstring exercise had 85% less recurrences than those who didn't. And it's not too late to rehab even if the last strain was months ago. Studies have shown that strengthening with these types of exercises months or even years after the injury can help increase the strength of the hamstring muscle group.

The offseason is the perfect time to begin this form of protection and rehabilitation. Often in season, the legs are overloaded from the gym, training and games. Elite sporting clubs often start with these exercises at a higher volume over the offseason and maintaining it through the season at a lower dose. Don't let yourself be the player who has 3 hamstring strains a season; book in for some guidance today and reduce your risk of hamstring next season and beyond.

Book an appointment today. BOOK NOW

Simon Kragh

Symmetry Physiotherapy 

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