Have you ever strained your hamstring before? You’re not alone because guess what, we are regular human beings too and Craig strained his hamstring! Hamstring strains are among the most common acute musculoskeletal injuries. Athletes who participate in track and field, soccer, and football are especially prone to these injuries given the sprinting demands of these sports. Don’t fret - we got you covered - Craig is going to walk you through the step-by-step process of how he rehabbed his hamstring strain and how he got back to running and weightlifting within just two weeks!
What is a Hamstring Strain?
A hamstring strain is a hamstring injury, it is just being more specific using medical terminology. The word strain is used to describe an injury to the muscle, in this case tearing of the hamstring muscle fibers due to excessive force/stretching of the muscle fibers. Hamstring injuries occur most commonly in the terminal swing phase of the running cycle.
So where do you start with hamstring strains? Are you supposed to stretch? What about strengthening exercises and if so which ones should you start with? Great question! Let's address the stretching question - one of the biggest risk factors for hamstring strains and re-injury rates is a decrease in hamstring flexibility and reduced extensibility. This diminished flexibility of the muscle-tendon unit is often due to residual scar tissue. While the eccentric control of the hamstrings is vital in preventing hamstring strains, what good is all the eccentric strength in the world if the actual length and extensibility of the hamstrings is not optimal?
However, passive stretching after an acute hamstring strain is something you don't want to jump into for many reasons. Remember, a hamstring strain is a result of muscle fibers being over-stretched and torn. You don't want to overstretch an injured tissue, which is easy to do with passive stretching (and trust us it won't feel good either)! With that being said, gently stretching an injured muscle strain is feasible by taking advantage of reciprocal inhibition. Reciprocal inhibition describes the neurologic process of muscles on one side of a joint relaxing to accommodate a muscle contraction on the other side of that joint. In this case - we can relax the hamstrings and move through their available muscle flexibility by activating the quadriceps.
If you like this post and want to learn more about the other modifiable risk factors, hamstring rehab exercises, and optimal treatment strategies for hamstring strains - be sure to check out our full in-depth article on this topic: https://library.theprehabguys.com/4-reasons-t...
Want more hamstring [P]Rehab content, check out our Hamstring [P]Rehab Program! Hamstring injuries are one of the most common soft tissue injuries in sports. They are especially challenging and frustrating due to the high recurrence rate. This vicious cycle of reinjury and tweaks is because the hamstring wasn’t appropriately managed the 1st time around. It’s time to change the narrative and be proactive with taking care of your hamstrings! This program will expose your hamstrings in a safe and effective manner to prepare you for high-level activities!
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