A hamstring injury is a common injury for sports people and can be attributed to:-
• lack of warm up before an event or training
• explosive movements such as sprinting full out from a standing start or stopping quickly
• over stretching
Generally, the injuries can vary from minor ones where the injury will heal with rest for a week or so, to severe cases which may mean the lack of competition for weeks or months.
Hamstring injuries are often graded 1, 2 or 3 depending on severity.
1. consists of minor tears in the fibres of the muscle
2. a partial tear of the fibres of the muscle showing slight bruising
3. a severe or complete rupture of the muscle fibres showing bruising and swelling
In each of these injuries the body will attempt to repair the damage by reconnecting the fibres with collagen. However, instead of connecting the fibres end to end in a straight line the collagen will attach itself to other structures and other fibres. The repair is known as scar tissue and is less elastic than healthy muscle fibre.
This scar tissue will impair the function of the muscle to varying degrees depending on the severity of the injury. The scar tissue cannot be removed, however with specific treatment the adhesions it makes to other structures can be broken down, allowing greater performance than if left alone.
With the correct massage treatment recovery time can be shortened and a quicker return to full activity can be achieved. Continued regular treatment can also help prevent recurring injury.
Massage alone will not suffice in preventing re-injury, however with a programme of stretches and warm up (and down) techniques normal function can be resumed in a shorter period of time and the sporting life of the athlete may be extended.