With the rise in activity as the warmer weather hits the Gold Coast, I have been hit with an influx of hamstring related issues. Last year, we posted about the dreaded hamstring tear and how physiotherapy can effectively manage and rehabilitate back to sport. During the start of summer though, I have personally seen a few tricky overuse hamstring injuries. With this sudden influx, I feel a little bit of information would be great for any local runners or people dealing with hamstring troubles.
What causes hamstring overuse issues?
The role of the hamstring muscle group is to extend the hip and bend the knee, both of which are extremely important for running and weight training. During a period of unaccustomed, increased load through our hamstrings, such as training for your first marathon or, increasing your maximum deadlift weight, there is an increased risk of developing hamstring tendinopathy if activity or load is increased too quickly.
So what happens to the hamstring muscle/tendon?
During normal progressive activity (e.g. progressing running distance at a slow pace i.e. 10% per week) the muscle and tendon undergo strain and fatigue but have adequate time to repair and recover after each training session. If the load increase is too much or too rapid, the tendon doesn’t receive the necessary time to repair and recover.
What should I do if I experience progressive onset hamstring pain?
Book in with your physio as soon as possible. Overuse injuries can harder to manage if left for a long time, therefore, a quick assessment, diagnosis and treatment are important for a successful and quick recovery.
What is the best treatment?
If diagnosed as hamstring tendinopathy then the stage of the tendinopathy is important to determine as different stages will require a different approach.
Whatever stage you are currently in, the main goal will be to increase the amount of load the tendon in question is able to tolerate. To do this requires a lot of time and correct exercise prescription.
Additionally your physiotherapist may employ some manual therapy techniques such as massage or dry needling to reduce the pain in the short term to enable you to complete your rehab exercises more efficiently and comfortably.
As always if you are concerned about your hamstrings then feel free to give us a call to discuss. 5535 5218.
Sources and Resources
Rehabilitation and Prevention of Proximal Hamstring Tendinopathy (2017)
Beatty, Nicholas R. DO, MS1; Félix, Ioonna PT, DPT, OCS, CTPS2; Hettler, Jessica PT, DPT, ATC, Cert MDT, SCS2; Moley, Peter J. MD1; Wyss, James F. MD, PT