PT on the Net Research

Hamstring Injury


Question:

I had an avulsion of the hamstring origin (left leg) about six years ago. That was “healed” by a physio and a long rest. I am now experiencing the same pain (prior to the avulsion) in my right leg. I have gone for physio and have “rested” for at least six months, but the moment I start training (e.g., squats, lunges, etc.), it flairs up again. I was a professional dancer for 18 years. I am also a keen backpacker and am undertaking a 250km hike in 2007. This recurring “injury” hampers my training drastically. I hope you can help. Thank you!

Answer:

I’m sorry to hear of your situation; however, I think there is a lot you can do with the right professional(s). I will provide you with some thoughts so you can ask the right questions in search for the appropriate care.

After an injury of your nature, the body will experience scar tissue, which will form along lines of stress. Knowing there is an injury, the body will follow a path of least resistance and therefore compensate to protect the injured site. The compensations that take place give the region the necessary unloading to heal but will create abnormal patterns with respect to optimal three-dimensional function. After the pain/discomfort subsides, the newly formed compensated patterns are usually still present, but the pain is gone and often perceived as “I’m healed.” If the three-dimensional function of the hamstrings is not re-tested for the intended tasks in which YOU perform (everyone’s task demand is different), then we can’t assume the region is “healed.” Its sounds like you may have been rehabbed for the acute trauma or symptom, BUT the cause and compensations most likely went unnoticed.

Due to the nature of your injury, I would seek out a professional who can perform tests of your current function, which should include various task specific movements, followed by specific tests for the region of complaint. Most likely you will have to seek out a soft tissue specialist to release any adhesions that are impeding optimal three-dimensional movement (please see www.activerelease.com for a provider in your area). Most importantly, you should learn how the hamstrings function during movement as opposed to the way we are taught in school. In school, we are taught the isolated one dimensional anatomy not the three dimensional REACTIVITY of the hamstrings. To learn and apply great techniques, I would purchase Gary Gray’s Functional Video Digest titled Hamstrings. I have seen this injury before (although everyone is different) and have witnessed great results. Good luck!