Strong and flexible hamstrings are important for optimal performance in all runners. Unfortunately, hamstring injuries are common and can significantly impact your training and running goals. At our sports injury and sports massage clinic in Guildford, we specialise in helping runners prevent and recover from hamstring injuries. In this blog post, we will explore the causes of hamstring injuries, effective strategies to prevent them, and the role of sports massage along with other injury prevention and management modalities that we employ at seventy9 Sports Therapy, our sports injury and sports massage clinic in Guildford.
Understanding Hamstring Injuries in Runners
Hamstring injuries commonly occur when they are overloaded in a lengthened position, resulting in a muscle tear. Common causes include high velocity running, inadequate warm-up, muscle strength imbalances, overuse/overtraining and sub-optimal running form. Hamstring injuries can range from mild to severe tears, with recovery time depending on the severity of the tear. Our sports therapists at seventy9 Sports Therapy are experts in diagnosing muscle injuries, as well as identifying the causative factors and planning treatment and rehabilitation plans to deal with these.
Importance of Injury Prevention
Preventing hamstring injuries should be a priority for runners. As an atraumatic injury they fall into the “preventable injury” category with clinically significant strategies to help prevent them. Effective warm-up routines, regular hamstring strength training, consistent mobility training – which can include sports massage – and improving running form are some of the key aspects of hamstring injury prevention.
Role of Sports Massage in Hamstring Injury Prevention
Sports massage is a valuable modality in managing the prevention and recovery of hamstring injuries. Here’s how sports massage can help:
- Improved Flexibility: Sports massage techniques such as deep tissue massage and myofascial release target overstimulated muscles and connective tissue, decreasing excessive muscle tone and improving recruitment of muscles such as the hamstrings.
- Muscle Balance: Imbalances between the quadriceps and hamstrings can increase the risk of hamstring injury. Sports massage – along with other assessment modalities that we employ at seventy9 Sports Therapy – can help identify and address muscle imbalances, promoting optimal muscle function and reducing abnormal load on the hamstrings.
- Improved Circulation: Sports massage can increase blood flow to muscles, helping to deliver vital nutrients and oxygen whilst removing metabolic waste products. This aids in tissue repair, speeding up the recovery process.
- Injury Detection: Sports therapists and sports massage therapists are skilled at identifying areas of tension that may contribute to hamstring injuries. Early identification of dysfunction can allow for prompt intervention and prevention of more severe issues.
Additional Injury Prevention Modalities
In conjunction with sports massage, incorporating other injury prevention modalities can further safeguard your hamstrings and improve your run performance.
- Strength Training: Regular strength training that targets the hamstrings both around the hip (e.g. RDLs) and knee (e.g. hamstring curls) can help make the hamstrings stronger and more resilient to injury. Our sports therapists at seventy9 Sports Therapy work closely with the strength coaches at Advance Performance to make sure the strength work you are doing is effective and efficient.
- Proper Warm-Up: Prioritising dynamic movements, a warm-up should focus on good quality movement through the whole of your active range of movement for the joints and muscle structures you are about to exercise. You may also wish to include some light loading (bodyweight squats/lunges) to help stimulate a greater level of recruitment of the muscles you are about to exercise.
- Cross Training: Going for a bike ride or swimming can help provide a physiological stimulus without the repetitive load on structures such as the hamstrings, helping to maintain fitness levels whilst reducing the mechanical load. Cross training also allows you to train around an injury, so is something we are big proponents of at seventy9 Sports Therapy.
Hamstring injuries can be frustrating for runners, but with the right prevention strategies and recovery modalities you can minimise the risk of injury and get back to running stronger and as a more robust athlete. At our sports injury and sports massage clinic in Guildford, we offer a comprehensive approach that includes sports massage along with other injury prevention techniques. Our skilled sports therapists are on hand to support you in diagnosing, rehabilitating and preventing hamstring injuries, as well as helping you to optimise your running performance.