How to deal with the dreaded hamstring injury

A hamstring strain, or a pulled hamstring as it is sometimes called, is a tear in one or more of the hamstrings muscles. There are various grades of hamstring injury and they can result from a number of risk factors; age is one such factor as the nerves which serve the hamstrings can be comprised as a player ages.

The level of conditioning of the footballer is important as very often hamstring strains can occur late in a game or towards the end of a training session, and the correct warm up procedures are essential.

Flexibility and elasticity of the hamstrings, lower back, and surrounding muscles is crucial as immobility can cause the muscle to be overextended and thus prone to strain or tear. Pelvic alignment, leg length, postural problems, lower back problems, and the strength of various muscle groups also play a part.

What to do when injured

Following injury the next 48 hours are essential. Refrain from alcohol as this increases swelling and bleeding.

Use cold therapy ice wraps or packs for 20 minutes and ice baths which help minimise swelling.

Use a compression bandage to minimise swelling. Elevate the leg when sitting. Following this period there are a number of treatment techniques to speed up recovery which include deep tissue treatment allowing correct fibre alignment which also minimises scarring to damage tissue.

Ultrasound and electrotherapy can also be prescribed to aid the healing process.

Rehabilitation is essential to prevent re-injury.

If any further information is required, or for an appointment, contact Martin at the Sports Injuries and Sports Medicine Clinic, N5 Business Park, Moneen, Castlebar, on 094 902 0005;


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