Hamstring injuries are probably the most troubling of all typical track and field injuries. The frequency with which they occur, their debilitating nature, combined with the fact that they seem to strike when least expected and at the worst times make them the most frightening of all injuries. In addition to this, hamstring injuries are also the most misunderstood injury in track and field. This often results in misapplied rehabilitation procedures. In this article we will attempt to establish a fundamental working knowledge of hamstring injuries. We will use some simplified anatomy and to explain the mechanisms that cause these injuries and voice some common sense injury management guidelines for the coach who must operate without great medical resources at hand.
A big part of hamstring prevention is observation. Close observation of athletes during warmup and running activities should be an ongoing process. Decreases in range of motion, loss of symmetry in motion, or gait changes can all signal causes of hamstring injury and the need for action.
Functional Pain Free Movement. The theme of rehabilitation should be functional locomotive exercise that is pain free. This gentle exercise limits scar tissue formation.
As soon as the patient can move about, rehabilitation must be functional and locomotive. Leg curls and similar exercises are a waste of time unless the injury is so bad the athlete can't walk. RDLs, squats, and other such exercises may place excessive tension on the muscle, resulting in the same problems noted above.
2. Easy Jogging
5. Straight Leg Bounds
Any other components of the training program that can be executed pain-free can and should be continued as normal. Other activities can be modified slightly to keep the movement pain free. The hamstrings are involved to a greater degree in horizontal movement than vertical movement, so altering the plyometric program to feature vertical jumping exercises often enables plyometric training to continue nearly uninterrupted and is a good way to continue to involve high speed, explosive training in the program.