Hamstring strain - Rugby Injuries

A hamstring strain is also commonly known as a pull or tear. Hamstring strains are usually caused by a sudden burst of movement and are common in sports which involve sprinting and quick changes of direction.

Types of hamstring strain

Hamstring strains are usually classified according to the severity of the injury; class 1 strains will usually only affect a small number of muscle fibres, while class 2 and class 3 strains are more serious. Class 2 strains cause damage to a number of muscle fibres and class 3 strains involve a tear in the muscle.

Symptoms of hamstring strain

Symptoms of minor strains may appear after exercise and will usually include pain which may become heightened when the leg is extended or contracted. More serious strains will usually result in an athlete pulling up in extreme pain; there may also be a burning sensation. The area around the muscle will usually swell and there may be some tenderness.

Treating hamstring strain

All hamstring strains will initially be treated with ice and rest; the affected leg will usually be elevated. Anti-inflammatory medication and pain relief will also be given to control pain and reduce swelling. More serious strains may need surgical treatment to repair the muscle.

Recovering from a hamstring strain

Recovery for minor class 1 strains will usually take up to 4 weeks if the leg is rested; class 2 strains will usually take 6 weeks to heal with sufficient rest, while class 3 strains may take up to 3 months to heal. Usually an athlete will use crutches during recovery to prevent applying pressure to the muscle. Once the healing process is underway, physiotherapy will help to improve movement and increase strength around the muscle.

Preventing a hamstring strain

The most important way to prevent injury is to complete thorough warm-up and cool down sessions; this will help to prepare the body for exercise and then speed up recovery after the activity.

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