(Article Review- Askling KM, BJSM 2013) Hamstring injuries are the most common injury in the majority of field sports including GAA and Soccer.
Hamstring injuries can vary in terms of mechanism of injury, the location of injury and size of the tear which makes general rehab recommendations difficult.
Reoccurrence of hamstring strains are quite common and there is a lack of high-quality research regarding the effectiveness of hamstring rehab protocols.
In this paper Carl Askling et al used 75 elite Swedish soccer players to compare two different hamstring rehab protocols in the rehab of MRI confirmed hamstring tear and assessed outcomes of return to play and reinjury.
Two programmes of exercises were compared- A conventional programme (C-Protocol) and a lengthening programme (L -Protocol). Both groups received only 3 exercises based on the following.
- Trunk/pelvis stability
- Specific strengthening exercise.
Bring your knee up towards your hip at approx. 90. Perform 12 slow knee extensions to a point just before pain is felt-(NOT INTO PAIN!) The Extender – 12 reps x 3 sets twice daily.
This exercise is a simulated dive with hip flexion from a standing position. Stand on the injured leg, flex forward as shown and extend your arms forward. Push your heel of the other leg towards the ceiling while keeping your pelvis horizontal. The Diver- 6 reps x 3 sets every second day.
With the injured leg in front, all the body weight should be on the heel of the injured leg with approx. 20 knee flexion. Slide your back foot backwards and stop before pain is felt. Use your arms to help you back up, not the injured leg. The Glider- 4 reps x 3 sets every third day.
Players from the L-Protocol returned to play significantly faster than those in the C group. 28 days V 51 days. There were no re-injuries in the L- Protocol compared to one in the C-Protocol.
ASKLING, C. M., TENGVAR, M. & THORSTENSSON, A. 2013. Acute hamstring injuries in Swedish elite football: a prospective randomised controlled clinical trial comparing two rehabilitation protocols. Br J Sports Med.