Hamstring injuries are quite common on the football field.
What is a hamstring?
The term hamstring refers to a group of muscles found on the back of the thigh.
How do injuries to the hamstring occur?
Injuries to these muscles and surrounding tendons can happen in a variety of ways. Sprinting suddenly when the body is cold, or slipping forward with the foot when the leg is straight out in front, are just two ways a hamstring injury may occur. A direct blow to the hamstrings while they are contracting will also tear the muscle, resulting in bruising and swelling. If there is a severe tear to the muscle, a knot of tissue may form a bump on the thigh.
A torn hamstring can be very painful. To reduce further injury any activity should be stopped immediately, the leg elevated and ice packs applied to the affected area. Advice must then be sought from a medical practitioner.
After the initial pain, the torn part will be sore to touch for quite some time. There will also be generalised pain in the area.
Overtraining is a common cause of what is called “hamstring overuse strain”. An overuse strain starts with a very slight pain that gets worse as training continues. Hamstring overuse injuries tend to recur and limit the ability to run, sprint, hop and stretch the leg right out.
How are the injuries treated?
If a lot of the muscle has been torn, it may need to be stitched together by a specialist surgeon. If there is only a small tear your doctor may decide that you need no more than a rehabilitation program, but you must follow this to the letter!
Specialist treatments include injections, and various forms of physiotherapy. If an injured person attempts to resume sport before they have completely recovered, the injury will definitely recur.
You may recover from a mild hamstring injury within 10 days to two weeks, but a more severe problem can last for three months or more.