Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Hamstring Strains

The hamstrings are the most commonly strained muscles in the body. This injury occurs when the hamstrings are stretched beyond their acceptable range of movement, either in a sudden movement, such as a violent stretch, or from repetitive motions. Hamstring strains range from mild (Grade I) to severe (Grade III), depending on the number of muscle fibres affected and the severity of the strain.

Risk factors for hamstring strains
The following factors increase the risk of developing a hamstring strain:
·         Poor flexibility
·         Poor posture
·         Muscle strength imbalance
·         Improper warm-up
·         Muscle fatigue
·         Poor neuromuscular control
·         Previous injury
·         Overuse
·         Incorrect technique

Signs and symptoms
Grade I (mild) hamstring strain:
·         Mild pain and tightness in the back of the thigh
Grade II (moderate) hamstring strain:
·         Tearing or popping sensation
·         Moderate pain and weakness
·         Difficulty bending the knee
Grade III (severe) hamstring strain:
·         Tearing or popping sensation
·         Severe pain and weakness
·         Individual will limp
·         Inability to straighten the knee completely or strike the ground with the heel first when walking
·         Difficulty bending the knee
·         Swelling and bruising occurs 1-2 days after the injury

Initial treatment should include rest, ice, compression and elevation. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are often prescribed as well. Crutches are used in more severe cases, if deemed to be necessary. Physiotherapy is required to reduce pain and swelling and regain range of movement.
Individuals with this injury often complain that the injury is chronic and recurring. This is usually because the strengthening and final-phase rehabilitation is neglected. It is crucial that the hamstrings are strengthened following a strain, to prevent the injury from reoccurring and to prevent injury to other parts of the body, such as the knee, as a result of muscle imbalances. A biokineticist can assist in prescribing appropriate exercises to strengthen the hamstrings and return an individual to full function, whether it be the normal daily activities, or specific sporting movements.

Foundations of Athletic Training: Prevention, Assessment and Management

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