Recovering from hamstring injuries
As I’ve mentioned, hamstring injuries have been shown to be more common in those who have had them previously. This suggests that perhaps people often rush back from such injuries and shows how important correct and appropriate rehab can be.
Beyond simply improving the strength of your hamstrings, another aspect that should be factored into rehab programs from hamstring injuries is improving your hip stability. Broadly the idea here is around reducing an undesirable amount of movement at the pelvis. As the pelvis is responsible for transferring forces between the spine and the lower limbs, it is thought that too much motion at this joining point can put the hamstrings under greater strain and therefore increase injury risk. This suggests a program of core and hip stability should be factored in when looking to reduce hamstring injury risk.
You may also think that hamstring flexibility might keep injuries at bay. The evidence here is a little ambiguous but it does seem that practices such as yoga can help with increasing range of motion and improve recovery time following injury,
Finally, moving forwards, it is recommended that a focus on movement quality should be sought where possible. In professional clubs this will be achieved by a structured, detailed assessment of a series of movement patterns such as how well an athlete squats, lunges, jumps etc. We should think of these movements as the foundation of a building – unless they are solid, you don’t want to build on them.
Similarly, if your fundamental movements aren’t of high quality, if you’re wobbling around all over the place for example, then no amount of increased single leg strength might save you from future injury. The reason for this importance is that sport is chaotic – we rarely move in nice straight, ordered lines like we do in the gym. This is why we need to ensure the basics are right first so when the chaos arrives we are better able to cope with it.
Although you may not be working in a professional environment, a physio or accredited strength and conditioning professional would be able to assess your movement competency and prescribe appropriate exercises to address any potential deficiencies.