It’s no wonder we get overworked hamstrings, when we consider the amount of sprints and turns we do intermittently during intense activity! Not to mention for how long. The average person during a football match for example can run anywhere up to 5 miles over the course of 90 minutes, with little to no rest.
Our hamstrings provide us with speed, taking a beating every time we work them for long periods of time. Therefore, strains in these muscles in particular can be quite common in anyone that plays sports involving high intensity bursts.
Strains often occur when the hamstring muscle itself is overworked and not strong enough. Other factors that influence hamstring overload are:
- Poor warm-up – You should always make sure you warm up before a game. Passive and dynamic stretches are important for the Hamstring muscles.
- Not cooling down – Again, a proper cool down and stretching regime should be adhered to.
- Playing surfaces – A slippery surface will add strain onto the hamstring muscles, therefore, appropriate footwear should be worn.
- Running mechanics – If you have a poor core stability, this will affect and overload the hamstrings because of the poor pelvic control. Often, lazy, inactive and weak derrière (bottom) muscles mean that the hamstrings have to overcompensate and become overloaded. Over-striding also adds strain through your hamstrings as your foot hits the ground.
- Lower back problems – Nerve damage can weaken the hamstrings
Symptoms of overworked hamstrings
- Mild Strain – Can often feel like a dull, mild ache and/or a tightness feeling.
- Severe Strain – Can be extremely painful and you can find it almost impossible to walk, stand and sometimes sit. Bruising can be a sign of this.
- Pain – Tends to be in the back of your thigh and/or lower buttock region. Often made worse by walking, stretching and bending forwards. You could feel a sudden pain, popping or snapping sensation.
In the first 72 hours of hamstring overload, adopt the POLICE protocol and avoid harmful factors such as:
- Running and exercise
- Direct massage/ indirect massage will be fine. Be sure to contact your Physiotherapist
Re-occurrence of Hamstring strains are common and often owing to poor rehabilitation. It is vital that you get an accurate diagnosis and sufficient treatment for your injury.
Physiotherapy treatment will aim to:
- Reduce the pain and swelling
- Strengthen your hamstring and the surrounding muscles, plus your core
- Increase the flexibility of your muscles
- Improve your neurodynamics
- Improve your balance and agility
- Overall decrease the risk of re-injury
- Joint mobilisations
- Acupuncture and dry needling
- Biomechanical assessment
- Use POLICE in first 72 hours of injury.
- Do not ignore the pain. Overworked hamstrings require attention and a correct diagnosis as the sciatic nerve runs through the hamstring, meaning your pain could be referred from a pinched nerve.
- Important to warm-up and cool down.
- Rehabilitation is the key to prevent re-injury. Repeated injuries have unfortunately shortened many athletes’ hockey careers.
If you need any advice, or you have concerns regarding hamstring overload, reach out to us using our FREE Ask A Physio service online, here.
Alternatively, you may call us on 01282 453 110.