Hamstring Injury

What is a hamstring strain?
The repetitive motion of running can cause the hamstrings to tighten over the course of a run, especially on runs with little variation such as treadmill runs or flat bike paths. Hamstring tears are rare in distance runners, however do occur in sprinters. In distance runners, hamstring strains are more common, as repetitive microtrauma subsequently causes a build up of scar tissue which causes chronic stiffness and discomfort. Hamstring strains can be difficult to manage, as often they aren’t bad enough to require time off running.

A mild hamstring strain may feel like a tightness or low grade aching pain in the muscle. Pain is often aggravated by walking, running, straightening the knee or bending down, however may ease off with light exercise due to increased blood flow. Reduced hamstring flexibility and strength, poor running mechanics, inappropriate training loads and fatigue are all factors that may contribute to hamstring strains. Hamstrings can also become troublesome with tight hips or weak glutes, as this increases the strain on the hamstrings.

What can we do about it?
For acute hamstring strains, ice should be applied initially to reduce any swelling, combined with gentle stretching – initially stretches should be performed in lying (non-weight bearing) as it is not as harsh on the muscle. Hamstring strains respond best to reduced mileage and intensity of training until the symptoms settle. Implementation of a strengthening and stretching program which can be progressed, as well as focus on technique and improving running mechanics in order to return to normal training.

About Chapman Physiotherapy

At Chapman Physiotherapy Ltd we pride ourselves on offering a first class physiotherapy service in South Yorkshire. Based in Doncaster, our easily accessible location provides full disabled facilities and appointments are available from early morning to late evening.