5 Tips for Preventing a Hamstring Strain

A soft tissue injury such as a hamstring strain can put you on the sideline for a while and prevent you from being at the top of your game.  While most strains resolve with rest and therapy, they can be very painful and keep you from your top performance.  Moreover, chronic hamstring strains are sure to hinder your performance and cause you to form unwelcome compensation patterns – increasing your injury risk.

Please know most hamstring strains are preventable. Here are five tips to avoid this type of injury.

  1. Warm up adequately — by gradually increasing activity through light aerobic exercises and dynamic stretching, you will increase your range of motion in your hamstring thereby reducing the chance of a strain or tear.
  2. Increase flexibility — by using stretching exercises, Active Release Techniques® and sports massage, the muscles can slowly be made more pliable. This needs to be done consistently to see long-term results.  Going and getting a massage every couple of months is NOT going to increase flexibility.
  3. ECCENTRIC strength — ECCENTRIC exercises which involve lengthening the muscles will help strengthen and tone muscles. An example of this is the Nordic curl. If you have been into our office for a running injury over the past 6 months, you’ve likely heard us discuss the importance of ECCENTRIC exercise.
  4. 10% Rule — increasing your endurance by slowly working up to longer periods of activity will ward off injury due to overuse.  We recommend increasing your volume NO MORE than 10% per week.
  5. Hydration—proper hydration is an essential component to avoiding strains, cramps and spasms. Several studies highlighted in a National Athletic Trainers Association bulletin demonstrated that “3-4 percent dehydration lowers muscle endurance, which increases the risk for strains and sprains.”

We also can put you through a hamstring screening to determine your risk tolerance.  To do so we run you through a series of reverse plank exercises to isolate the hamstrings.

In the case that these tips do not prevent a hamstring injury, remember the mnemonic PRICE. P-Protection R-Rest I-Ice C-Compression E-Elevation.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions regarding hamstring strains or other soft tissue injuries.

Finally, we wanted to again mention our NEW MASON LOCATION (formerly Mason Family Chiropractic).  Our sign is almost completed so there will be a little less confusion when coming up to the building.  Thank you for your support and patience with our exciting new venture.