The hamstrings are the one of the most frequently strained muscle in the body. Once strained they are prone to re-injury making early diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation very important. Sports commonly responsible for these strains are running, football, rugby and sprinting. A sudden violent stretch or rapid muscle contraction can lead to varying degrees of tearing with the muscle.
The treatment of a hamstring strain varies in accordance with the severity of the injury. In general following the RICE protocol of rest, ice, elevation, compression is important in the first 48 hours. Once relatively normal pain-free walking is manageable, work can be started on gently strengthening the injured hamstring. Soft tissue massage, interferential and ultrasound can also help at this stage. Upon the strength returning to the hamstring, stretches to improve the flexibility can be commenced. Once reasonable flexibility is reached, light jogging and more dynamic hamstring stretches can be considered.
If jogging is pain-free, progression to short, sharp sprints can be attempted. It is important throughout to ensure that the recovery is not rushed and patience is shown when certain stages are uncomfortable