Phil Heler, of Buxton Osteopathy, gives his latest column on hamstrings strains and how to avoid them.
An obvious frequent sporting injury is the hamstring strain.
The hamstring muscle group comprises three main muscles and their job is to bend or flex the knee.
Injuries to the hamstring muscles typically occur either through sudden sprint-related injuries or through a fast stretch-related type movement.
These scenarios will usually manifest in a sudden sharp pain that may have varying consequences depending on the exact related forces behind the initial movement involved.
Like any other muscle injuries a hamstring issue will be graded as either as Grade 1, 2 or 3 and it is important to know, especially with this particular muscle group, the extent of involvement.
A Grade 1, or mild strain, will typically reproduce a moderate tightness at the back of the leg and you will be able to walk normally although not be unable to run at full speed.
Grade 2 will be more profound with a degree of inflammation and the ability to walk normally will be affected and accompanied with sharp twinges of pain.
Grade 3 injuries will involve a significant injury that may result in a full complete tear of the muscle and clearly in this instance any weight bearing will be accompanied by severe pain and crutches will be a necessity. Extensive swelling and bruising will appear within 24 hours.
Strains are initially treated with rest, ice, compression, and elevation (known as RICE) and medications to reduce inflammation.
Grade 1 or 2 injuries should gradually improve and return to normal function within a few weeks whereas Grade 3 may be complex and require surgery.