Hamstring Problems

We are going to run a series of information articles on hamstring injuries. It is by far one of the most common sports injuries we see here at the clinic. In this first article we will look at how common hamstring injuries are and who is most at risk.

Future articles will include information on diagnosing how severe the injury is, your prognosis for return to sport, what to do in the initial injury stage and reducing your risk of future injury. We will also discuss common beliefs on stretching and “core” muscles relative to hamstring injuries.

How common are hamstring injuries?

Hamstring injuries are most common in sports that involve running and sprinting. They account for 17-30% of all injuries in sports such as Soccer, GAA, Aussie Rules, Rugby, and Athletics.

How do you injure your hamstrings?

Simply put, the hamstrings fail to absorb the force through the muscle; the muscle unit fails and results in a muscle tear. Hamstring muscle injuries most commonly occur when the athlete is sprinting, just as the front heel is about to touch the ground. This is the position at which the hamstrings are most vulnerable; therefore it makes sense that this is the most common position for injury. It can also occur in other positions such as an overstretched position and also just as the athlete is about to take off in a sprint.

Why is there so much talk about hamstring injuries?

The data for hamstring injuries show that on average per club (soccer, rugby etc), they will have 5/6 players with hamstring injuries per season. This results in approximately 21 missed player games per club per year. There is also a high re-injury rate of 12-31%, which leads to even longer absences.

Who is most at risk?

Those most at risk are male, over 23 years with a history of a previous hamstring injury.

Previous injury

A history of a previous hamstring injury means you are 2-6 times more likely to re-injure your hamstring. You are most at risk in the 3 weeks you return to sport. For the year post injury you are 3 times more likely to sustain a hamstring injury.

Increasing age

Any athlete 23 years or older has up to a 4 times greater risk of hamstring injury. This risk of hamstring injury increases by 30% annually.

Muscle weakness and Strength imbalances

Weakness and imbalance in the quads and hamstring muscles has been shown to be associated with future injury. In previously injured hamstrings, weakness has been shown to continue to exist long after the player has returned to sport.

This is very important because this is your main modifiable risk factor. You can’t change the fact that you have injured your hamstring previously or that you are getting older but you can address weakness and muscle imbalances. This will be the focus of some of our future articles i.e. what exercises to do when you are injured and also what exercises to do to decrease your risk of future injury.

Feel free to share this article and if you would like us to discuss other areas in more detail just let us know. If you have a current hamstring injury or think you are at an increased risk of hamstring injury please feel to contact us for advice or an appointment.

Still suffering with that hamstring?

by Clara Linnane, Chartered Physiotherapist Hamstring strains or ‘Pulling your hamstring’ is a common sports injury usually associated with running, sprinting and kicking. The hamstring consists …
Read More

Can Physio Help nerve pain?

Nerve pain feels like pins and needles, shooting pain, stabbing/throbbing pain, burning, numbness, deep aching, or a tingling-like sensation. Mild symptoms of nerve pain may …
Read More

Jobs Available

Job Description Are you looking for a part-time or full-time physio position in Galway? Our dynamic and respected business is looking for the right person to join …
Read More

How to Prevent Running Injuries

Running away from lockdown - within our 5k limit :)  After the first lockdown we treated lots of running injuries! Some old injuries that had resurfaced …
Read More

Runners warm-up: Glutes

Runners Glutes warm-up 🍑 These exercises are my absolute favourite for glutes ❤️ As physios we aren’t supposed to have favourites but 🤷🏻‍♀️ These guys give you so much bang for …
Read More

What is your pelvic floor?

Think of your pelvic floor like a sling. These muscles come from the back of the pelvis to attach at the front. When you contract …
Read More

Exercise during Pregnancy

By Anita HayesAccording to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynacologists (ACOG) guidelines (2015), physical activity in pregnancy has minimal risks and has been shown …
Read More

Hip and Groin Rehab

Are you a sports-person with Hip & Groin or Back Pain? I have developed a Rehab program specifically for you! This rehab program is based on current …
Read More

Top 10 Tips for Hamstring Injury

Sports injuries tend to garner more than their fair share of well-meaning advice and old wives tales. Hamstring injuries are no different. Maybe there is …
Read More

Supplements & Herbs for Migraine

Here are some non-drug or alternative treatment options for Migraine 1. Magnesium2. Ribioflavin (Vitamin B)3. CoQ104. Butterbur5. Feverfew These are considered Migraine preventatives. You take them daily …
Read More

Food and Migraine

Are you feeding your Migraine?  Food and migraine is a popular and sometimes confusing subject for my patients. In this article I discuss food-related disorders such as …
Read More

Migraine and Physiotherapy

My left eye is target practice for the circus knife-thrower. The searing, white hot pain of his knives will eventually subside. The nausea, the vomiting, …
Read More

Hurling Injuries

Hurlers are 19 times more likely to get injured during a match than during training What are the most common hurling injuries?Are Hurlers less fit than …
Read More

Top 5 Exercises for Runners

Simple exercises to help prevent injuries 1. Squat Strengthen your back, hips, gluts, quads and hamstrings 2. Heel RaisesPrevent calf and Achilles injuries 3. …
Read More

Michelle’s Olympic Experience

London 2012 Olympics My name is Michelle Biggins and I am a chartered physiotherapist with a special interest in sports injuries. I was selected to work …
Read More

The Cruciate Curse

This year Cork All-Star Colm O’Neill confirmed his third cruciate injury, once again fuelling the public interest in this severe injury. In the English Premier …
Read More