Hamstring Tendonitis: Devastating But Treatable
Hamstring tendonitis is a tricky injury and demands caution when treating it. Most people throughout some stage of their sporting life have probably felt a twinge or slight pull in the back of the leg, which may be hamstring tendonitis (the better option than a tear).
Goals of treatment and rehabilitation
- Control inflammation early, and protect the injured muscle to promote healing.
- When able, start light strength, flexibility, balance training, and muscle imbalances.
- Sport-specific activities must be tested to ensure the athlete can return to sport safely.
If the correct measures are not taken to enable full recovery, this can lead to a full hamstring tear. Individual programs must be implemented for each person, as the stage of recovery is typically different for everyone.
Here are 10 practical guidelines that will help an athlete avoid getting injured:
- Never train hard when stiff from the previous effort.
- Introduce new activities very gradually.
- Allow lots of time for warming up and cooling off.
- Check over training and competition courses beforehand.
- Train on different surfaces, using the right footwear.
- Shower and change immediately after the cool down.
- Aim for the maximum comfort when traveling.
- Stay away from infectious areas when training or competing very hard.
- Be extremely fussy about hygiene in hot weather.
- Monitor the athlete daily for signs of fatigue. If in doubt, ease off.
Warming up and cooling down
Ligaments and tendons are much more likely to tear when the muscles are cold and inflexible.
The warm-up helps in several other ways, both physically in diverting the blood flow from non-essential areas to working muscles, and mentally, in focusing the athlete on the upcoming event.
I would recommend at least 15 minutes and up to 30 minutes warm-up before hard training begins. In ball games this can often be done with a ball, carrying out various skill routines, but in all cases it should start with 5-10 minutes of gentle movement, gradually increasing in pace, followed by 5-10 minutes of stretching, still in warm clothing. A sprinter might well take 45 minutes to warm up for a 10-second burst of energy. During the cool-down period, which should last for 10-15 minutes after a competition or a hard training session, the body temperature returns to normal and the fatigue products are flushed out of the muscles, which reduces the chances of stiffness the next day.
The final word
If severe hamstring tendonitis hits an athlete, swift and knowledgeable treatment is essential if they’re going to get back on track quickly.
To learn more about hamstring injuries, please contact Hinterland Physio on ph. 4972 5155. Shayne has been providing physiotherapy services to Gladstone for the past 5 years.