Inside the injury: Hamstring tear
- Wed 09 Feb 2011, 11:41AM
- Posted by David Clayton
Ever wondered what certain injuries mean or how they occur? Better still, how about finding ways to avoid them in the first place?
Well, now you can! Club doctor Jamie Butler takes you inside the injury with a three-step overview of each problem treatment, investigation and diagnosis in the second of our Inside the Injury feature.
The most severe tears need an operation to surgically put the muscle back together and requires at least three months to recover from.
Hamstring tears can be prevented by a routine of good stretching, good warm-ups plus adequate preparation for training and the game.
Prevention is the key as once you have had a hamstring injury there is a tendency for the injury to re-occur.
The management of the tear involves ice, compression and resting it to stop any further bleeding and to allow the muscle to heal.
There have a number of other treatments that we use - we can inject the muscle with certain medications to speed up the healing process along with physiotherapy and rehabilitation programmes.
There are three grades of muscle tear: grade one, where there is swelling around the muscle fibres but they haven’t been pulled apart. This takes seven to 10 days to recover from.
Sometimes these can progress to the next grade though which is grade two, where the fibres have been pulled apart but they haven’t completely ruptured.
These are the most common hamstring tears and take anything from two to six weeks recovery time depending on the type of tear.
Grade three is when the fibres have been totally pulled apart and there’s a rupture leaving a gap in the muscle.
Upon examination, players with the grade three tear will sometimes have a hole in the muscle. And the area will fills up with blood
The best way to prevent a hamstring injury is not to get one in the first place! Hamstrings are muscles in the back of the leg above the knee and they control movement of both the knee and hip.
They are an important structure for running so when a player pulls up with pain in the back of the thigh, we immediately fear a hamstring tear.
If this is the case, the player usually experiences pain at the back of the thigh and a feeling of weakness. When we examine them, the first thing we do is feel along the muscle to see if there’s any tender areas.
We then move the leg to see if any certain movements cause pain along the hamstring area. We also do ultrasound scans which are used routinely on a daily basis to look at the muscles as this will show up if there is a tear. In some cases we use MRI scans to give us more detail.
Catch Dr Butler's latest Inside the Injury in the February issue of ManC.