Some practical info on hamstring tears

What to do if you tear your hamstring.

Hamstring tears are very common in field sports like GAA and Soccer but  are also common among dancers and martial artists. Here are a few guidelines on how best to manage your injury and speed up the recovery process. 

If you feel the tear to be higher up the leg then it will generally take  longer to rehab

How long it takes you to jog painfree can be a good indicator. 1 or 2 days after injury will take about 2 weeks to return to play. 3-4 days means about 3 weeks to play again and if it takes 5 days before you can jog painfree then your looking at 4 – 5 weeks or more before you can play again. 

What should you do at time or injury.

Ice it, compress it with a compression bandage and elevate it. However recent evidence suggests that the old belief of resting it has now been replaced with optimal load. This means that getting it moving and putting some force through the tissue will stimulate the cells to grow and will speed up the recovery. However you should also get it checked out by an experienced therapist to get it assessed and they can tell you what the optimal load should be.

Early stage rehab guidelines:

All exercises should be painfree. If an exercise is causing pain then stop doing it and do it in a smaller range or with less force. 

Your rehab exercises should initially be on a day on/day off basis to allow the tissue to regenerate and also to get a indication if you have to done too much or too little with it. It will be sore if you have done too much exercises so do less the next day. 

Ice it after your rehab exercises especially in the first week.

Do not stretch it in the first few five days as you want the tissue  to heal and allow you to put some load through the muscle. Muscle tears that get re injured shortly after the original injury take much longer to recover from. 

After that there are a number of exercises that can be done that progress from gentle exercise to more difficult ones as the the muscle gets stronger. A good therapist will be able to put you on a rehab programme to get to back to full health as quickly as possible. Correct rehabilitation of hamstring tears is extremely important if the athlete is returning to sport as acute hamstring strains have the highest recurrence rate of any injury with a rate of 34% in Australian Rules football and 12% in British soccer. 

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