The hamstrings are important muscles for walking and running. When a hamstrings strain occurs, it can compromise a training schedule and limit overall functionality.
Throughout your treatment plan for your clients with hamstrings strains, it is vital that you provide proper treatment and advice. The re-injury rate for a hamstrings strain is 22-34%. It, also, tends to take more time to recover the second time around. Thus, getting it right the first time is important to get your client back to their regular activities in a time-effective way.
In the initial stages of treatment, reducing inflammation and pain is the sole goal. A hamstring strain will present itself as possibly severe pain in the back of the thigh, tenderness, and bruising. Advise your client to apply ice for 10-15 minute intervals to reduce inflammation and pain. Time will also play a part in the initial recovery stages.
Following a reduction in pain levels, your treatment plan should focus on reducing scar tissue, strengthening weak areas, and preventing future recurrence.
Use cross-fiber techniques and myofascial release techniques on trigger points. These will help release the fascia tissue and reduce scar and adhesion formation. Deep massage techniques have also proven to be beneficial to reduce muscle tension and scar formation.
Gentle stretching of the hamstring muscles can help to reduce tightness that may have been a contributing factor to the strain. Prescribe at-home stretches for both the quadriceps and hamstrings. If the quadriceps are tight, they can cause the pelvis to be pulled forward creating tension in the hamstrings and leaving them more susceptible to injury.
Strengthening exercises targeting the hamstrings, glutes, and quadriceps can also help with biomechanics and muscular weaknesses that could also be contributing factors. If the gluteal muscles are weak, the hamstrings have to work that much harder. Prescribe strengthening exercises for the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, such as hamstring curls, squats or partial squats, and bridges.
If there is pain during the exercises, find alternatives or other options, such as isometric exercises, so that the movements are pain-free.
If biomechanical issues associated with the pelvis and glutes is noted, joint mobilization techniques can also be incorporated into the treatment plan to address these problems and to maximize stretching techniques.