Hamstring Injuries Crippling Professional Sport
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Fremantle Docker Hayden Ballantyne is one top sportsman who knows all about hamstring injuries.
These painful and debilitating leg injuries are a common occurrence in professional sport across all codes and can rule a player out for upwards of 10 weeks.
Hamstring injures usually produce a sudden and severe pain and a snapping or popping feeling.
They also cause a pain in the back of the thigh and lower buttock when walking, straightening the leg or bending over. Tenderness and bruising can occur as a result of the injury.
Fremantle Dockers’ Hayden Ballantyne suffered a tear in his left hamstring in Fremantles 21-point win over Carlton in the final week of the pre-season.
Ballantyne had scans after the match and the injury proved to be worse than originally thought.
Scans revealed the 29-year-old forward player will need surgery to repair serious tendon damage.
“At this stage the medical advice is that Hayden will require a rehabilitation phase of eight to 10 weeks,” said general manager of football operations for the Dockers, Chris Bond.
Ballantyne had a strong pre-season and Fremantle are hopeful he will make a big impact upon his return.
“Once the rehabilitation process is completed, given Hayden’s strong pre-season, we expect him to make a significant contribution on his return to football,” said Bond.
Ballantyne had ten possessions and kicked one goal before injuring himself in the third quarter against Carlton.
Many elite athletes have been sidelined as a result of this injury.
Football club Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and the NBA’s Lebron James are just two of many sporting stars to suffer the same fate as Hayden Ballantyne.
The hamstring muscles are located on the back of the upper leg. The action of the muscle is to flex the knee and extend while also straightening the hip.
Acute hamstring strains will occur when a sudden movement or force is applied to the hamstring muscles. They can also be aggravated after a sudden change in direction by somebody exercising or playing sport.
Players are more likely to injure their hamstring if they have previously injured it. The increasing age of the person will also be a considerable factor in re-injuries occurring.
Experts recommend completing a thorough body and muscle warm-up prior to serious strenuous exercise in order to prevent an injury.
Matthew Mclaughlin, a physiotherapist at Anchorage Drive Physiotherapist Centre, has dealt with many hamstring injuries:
“Hamstring injuries are the most common injuries occurring in sport; roughly 10-15% of all sustained injuries. They are most common in track and field, rugby, basketball, soccer, and AFL,” McLaughlin told ECU Daily.
“There are commonly two types of hamstring injuries. Type one occurs with high speed running (high speed injury) and type two occurs with extensive lengthening/ stretching (low speed injury),” said Mclaughlin.
Most athletes are immediately aware of the symptoms and that the injury has occurred. Sometimes a clear audible popping noise is heard.
“Symptoms are dependent on severity,” said Mclaughlin.”Usually pain and stiffness in the hamstring region, weakness, aches and so forth If it’s really bad, the person may feel like the leg is giving way or have a feeling of instability.”
“Recovery depends on the severity of the strain. A study found that time to return to sport post hamstring injury ranged from 1-8 weeks with a median of 26 days,” said Mclaughlin.
“Initially it should be immobilised then re-mobilised during muscle healing. Immediate treatment is PRICER (protection, rest, ice, compression, elevation) and referral if required to a GP or Physio.
“Some people may require a short bout of NSAIDS or analgesics. A short period of immobilisation may be required – up to seven days.
“Basic treatment will involve increasing muscle strength, correcting strength imbalances, and improving flexibility,” said Mclaughlin.
“People can get back to 100% post hamstring injury with the correct rehabilitation. However, hamstring re-injury rate is high with inadequate rehabilitation.
“A study showed that there is a 60% increased chance of re-injury if you have decreased cardiovascular fitness. With the correct rehabilitation acute hamstring injuries could be reduced by 70%,” said Mclaughlin.