The hamstring muscle group runs down the back of the upper leg and is made up of three muscles known as the semimembranosus, semitendinosus, and biceps femoris. These muscles are commonly strained and particularly so in field sports. Hamstring injuries account for a sizeable majority of all soft tissue injuries sustained in gaelic football.
Strains of the hamstrings can be graded based on severity of the tear with grade one representing a minor tear, and grade two and three representing more significant injuries. On average, players suffering a hamstring injury will expect to be out of action for 22 days, from injury to return to game, but this varies greatly based on the severity.
Lack of appropriate flexibility and muscle strength at the end of range are two of the most common features of recurrent hamstring injury. Initial management of hamstring injuries is the same as other soft tissue injuries with rest, ice, compression and elevation being important in the initial 48 hours after injury. Thereafter, manual therapy, deep tissue massage, stretching and strengthening become important in the successful rehabilitation of hamstring injuries. Chronic, recurring hamstring injuries may benefit from a comprehensive eccentric loading programme. Click here to watch a video of an eccentric hamstring programme.