Physio - Hamstring injuries

Hi All,

Welcome to the first edition of Physio Info. As some of you may know I am Johanna Burke ARTC, Killimordaly GAA Club locally based Sports Rehabilitator.  
In this set of articles we will discuss common sporting and non sporting injuries! There’s a common belief that if you don’t play sport physio or Sport Rehabilitation is not for you, which is untrue anyone can suffer hamstring to shoulder strains.
In this edition we will discuss the dreaded Hamstring Injury, just the word hamstring strikes fear in every GAA player!

The Hamstring
The hamstring is located at the back of your leg between your knee and your glutes.

A hamstring strain or a pulled hamstring as it is sometimes called is a tear in one or more of the hamstrings muscles. The role of the hamstring muscles is to bend (flex) the knee and to move the thigh backwards at the hip (extend the hip). Mild to severe hamstring strains are extremely common high velocity sports, such as sprinting, but also happen in a variety of other sports that involve sprinting activities, such as football, rugby, and GAA.
It is vitally important that treatment for a pulled hamstring starts immediately following injury. The most important phase for treatment is the first 48 hours post-injury.
Standard guidelines suggest the following (RICEM);
R – Rest, I – Ice, C – Compress, E – Elevate, M – Movement.
If after 48 hours your symptoms persist, it is advisable to seek professional advice by contacting 
Burke Sports Injury and Rehabilitation Clinic.

The Statistics
GAA is played in every parish in the country including Killimordaly. The GAA funded a ground breaking report from the National Injury Database was set up in 2006. Detailing injury rates for 5 inter-county football and 4 inter-county hurling teams in the 2007 season, the first ever to give a clear picture of all injuries sustained by these elite GAA players over a full season produced some key findings
The most common injury was hamstring strain, accounting for 24% of all injuries in hurling and 23% in football
Recurrent hamstring injuries in hurling were 26% and football 38%.
On average 1 in 7 players were missing through injury each week in hurling, and 1 in 6 in football
“The AFL (Australian Football League) has managed to halve their instance of recurrence from between 1997 and 2009,” Through better education and greater awareness among players, coaches and managers, there is no reason why the GAA injury recurrence rates could not be significantly reduced.” The prominence of hamstring injuries means that ARTC’s are now developing a protocol to reduce frequency of occurrence, including guidance for coaches, evidence based advice for early treatment of this injury, a comprehensive rehabilitation programme and steps for return to training and match fitness

Assessment Protocol
When a sports person comes in for an assessment at Burke Sports Injury and Rehabilitation Clinic, we take them through a thorough orthopaedic, neurological, muscle testing and soft tissue examination. This testing will highlight the player’s physical limitations and weaknesses, this will be essential to find the underlying cause to their hamstring problem. The most common tests find that the player lacks flexibility/mobility of the hips and glutes.A second common finding I have seen is the players who have had a previous strain or tear, which on examination still had a large amount of scar tissue which was a result of no treatment or poor treatment at the time of injury i.e. Recurrent Injury. Scar tissue is a normal response by the body but it very important that it is treated effectively to ensure that the scar tissue fibres line up in parallel to the muscle fibres, left alone it will lay down in a disorganised fashion. Scar tissue is far less flexible that normal muscle tissue, how this becomes a problem is that the healthy  muscle tissue is  put under extra undue stress as the scar tissue part of the muscle is doing no work.

Treatment Protocol

  • Heating pads can be used to apply heat a few days after inflammation subsides. Heat reduces muscle tension in a pulled hamstring that is healing. Heat can also be used for pain relief by alternating heat applications with cold therapy.
  • Sports massage for hamstrings to speed up recovery. Sports massage is important in the treatment and rehabilitation of hamstring muscle injuries as massage helps correct new muscle fibre realignment and minimizes scar tissue. In addition massage can increase the blood flow to the injured area.
  • Ultrasound and other forms of electrotherapy
  • Prescribe a rehabilitation program
  • Specific stretches
  • Gradually resuming activity is essential to minimizing rehabilitation time. Gentle stretches of the muscle strain area should precede strengthening exercises prior to a return to full sports or everyday activity.

Re-conditioning and Rehabilitation is key to preventing Re-injury
Hope you have great injury free week and if you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact me
Regards Johanna

Burke Sports Injury and Rehabilitation Clinic on 086 83565687


Lamont Hill said...

You have pointed well the injuries, a sportsman has always the chances of having while playing in the field or during practice and the methods to get rid of them are also unique. In early 70's it was not possible to get rid of hamstrings but now clinical pilates is a wonderful technique to get well soon from you pain and back in business.

Ryde Natural Health said...

I have learned lots of things which is very effective for me. As a athletes, i will take your advice and i should follow every steps what you have said.