Hamstrings injuries? Here is how 3TOOL can help you
The hamstrings are a group of muscles constituted by semimembranosus, semitendinosus and biceps femoris located on the back of the upper leg. The hamstring muscles are multifunctional. They are powerful hip extensors, as well as knee flexors, medial and lateral rotators, and important stabilizers of the knee. The hamstrings are a common source of injury and pain in athletes, especially in those sports which require explosive movements and fast acceleration and deceleration such as sprinting, football and rugby, among others. Injuries to the hamstring muscles primarily occur proximally and laterally, and they usually involve the biceps femoris. Usually the most common are; tendinopathy at the insertion to the ischial tuberosity and biceps femoris tears. The severity of the tear of the hamstring muscles is classified according to the following grades:
- Grade 1 is a mild strain, with few muscle fibers being torn.
- Grade 2 is a moderate strain, with a definite loss in strength.
- Grade 3 is a complete tear of the hamstrings.
Hamstring injuries almost always occur at the proximal myotendinous junction. In the biceps femoris, this junction extends over most of its entire length. Injury usually does not occur within the tendon itself unless there is pre-existing pathology. These injuries can be slow to heal with a very high rate of recurrence or re-injury.
Depending on the diagnosis we would orientate our treatment in one direction or another. Some of the rehabilitation process would be common for acute and for more chronic or long-lasting issues, the main difference would be the intensity of exercises, duration and start of the different phases. We can summarise them in:
- Decrease pain and inflammation.
- Restore mobility and flexibility.
- Strengthening of knee and hip muscles.
- Gradual return to full fitness.
In the first hours or days we should rest from aggravating exercises. Avoid any form of exercise that may make the injury worse. Apply ice / cold therapy at least 3 times a day for 15 minutes. Maybe NSAID (Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs) are prescribed.
Once inflammation is resolved, mobilization of the injured hamstring as soon as possible is essential in achieving a speedy recovery. This would include passive stretching and strengthening exercises that should be performed in a pain free range of motion.
Initially isometric strengthening exercises are recommended, followed by a gentle progression into isotonic, concentric and finally eccentric exercises.
Also manual therapy can play a key role in preventing formation of scar tissue and speeding overall recovery. At myofascial level to relief restrictions, adhesions and pain, massage, dry needling and myofascial release applying compression can be used.
Here is where 3TOOL can come handy. This tool has been designed specifically to treat myofascial trigger points and restrictions; therefore it can be used as prevention to facilitate movement and avoid formation of adhesions and as treatment. Below you can find some videos showing how your physiotherapist can massage and compress these muscle areas to improve mobility and ease pain using Zone 2 of the tool:
As usual we recommend you visit your physical therapist or health related professional to prevent and treat these injuries.