Physical therapy and hamstring injuries
August 3, 2016
When assessing a muscle or an injury there are 4 key factors…
1. Palpation- touching it
2. Stretching it
3. Contracting it
4. Looking above and below the area for nerve problems or biomechanical impairments
A hamstring tear can be palpated fairly easily to see if the site is at the belly of the muscle or the origin.
It usually occurs with sprinting , hard and fast stop and go movement sports like soccer and hockey.
If it hurts when you touch it, stretch it , contract it then you likely have a hamstring strain. Now there is the slight possibility if you have pain or numbness in that area that you could have sciatica because the sciatic nerve runs right through that area of the hamstrings. So if this is the case you want to have your Doctor or physical therapist look more in depth at the lumbar region. The cause of this may be lifting heavy weights, bending over a lot at home or work, doing the squat press, or sitting most of the day due to excess disc pressure by doing these type of activities. A herniated disc may put excess pressure or chemical irritation on the sciatic nerve and mimic a hamstring strain.
To treat it … you want to…
1. Treat the inflammation first- by icing it 3 x a day for 15 minutes for the first 3 days, wrap it with an ace bandage for support for 3 days. Rest it rest it rest it for 2 weeks or until the pain is down. If you keep on playing on a hurt hamstring I can almost guarantee this strain will turn into a problem of 6 to 8 months and be very difficult to overcome from personal experience and patient experience.
2. When the pain is down after likely 2 weeks or so you can start to gently pain free strengthen it with hamstring curls eccentrically ( note how I have not said stretching it —this is my opinion- I feel that by stretching it this soon you will just tear the muscle more).
You do this
5 lb ankle weights – perform 3 sets of 10 – perform slowly going down – this is eccentric strengthening.
Compliance with rehabilitation emphasizing eccentric strengthening with the hamstrings in a lengthened position resulted in no reinjuries