What causes hamstring tears and strains?
Approximately 70% of hamstring injuries occur during high-speed running, the other 30% during stretching manoeuvres. Running injuries recover quicker than stretching injuries.
The maximal point of tenderness indicates where the tear is: the closer this point is to the ischial tuberosity the longer it takes to recover. The ischial tuberosity is the bumpy bit under your bottom!
The L-Protocol for hamstring rehabilitation
There is great research behind the L-Protocol for hamstring rehab. This consists of 3 exercises.
Extender – twice every day, 12 repetitions x 3 sets. Slide foot (on plastic bag) backward as far into extension as you can
Diver – Once every other day, 6 repetitions x 3 sets.
Glider – Once every third day, 4 repetitions x 3 sets. Support upper leg and extend your knee as far as you can
When can I return to sport?
It is recommended that once the above exercises are pain free and at full range of motion that you perform the Askling-H test. If this is clear then you can attempt return to sport. If sport creates a feeling of insecurity in the hamstring then you should stop and retest everything with your physio in 3-5 days.
Can I run or jog during recovery?
Interestingly people often find it comfortable jogging even when walking is painful! This means that light jogging can sometimes continue as part of your rehabilitation.
Why you should rehab your hamstring properly
- Recurrence rates are cited in the literature as 12-63% (Brukner et al, 2013)
- Risk of re-injury remains elevated for the first 12 months (Hagglund et al, 2006). Peterson et al (2011)
All of the advice in this article is not specific to you but is intended to give you an idea of what can be involved in hamstring rehabilitation.
Our physiotherapists can help design a specific program for you whether you have an acute hamstring tear or you have had multiple strains/tears and want to decrease your risk.