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The optimal rehabilitation for a hamstring tear.

Hamstring injuries are common in AFL, Soccer, Rugby league and many running sports that require the athlete to sprint. Hamstring strains can be complex to manage. An early return to sport without adequate rehabilitation can increase the risk of re-injury.

The rehabilitation of hamstring strains has been biased towards eccentric exercise. Eccentric exercise is characterised by the hamstring muscle being loaded as the muscle fibres lengthen or stretch. This action replicates the activity of the hamstring muscle in sprinting.

The Askling Rehabilitation protocol was the first program to introduce eccentric loading in the early stages of rehabilitation. His study showed early eccentric loading lead to a faster return to sport. Your Physiotherapist will provide a personalised program which will involve eccentric exercise. 

So what’s in the rehab program?

Hamstring specific eccentric strengthening:

Knee extender

45-degree hamstring bridge

Hamstring slider curls

Single leg deadlifts

Completed for 8 reps of 4 sets 2 to 3 times per week.

Cardio conditioning is included through bike work.

Recommencing running

A running program is introduced as soon as walking becomes pain-free. Returning to running can occur as early as two to three days post injury! A walk-jog-walk is completed for four laps of a field. The athlete then moves to a progressive sprinting program that looks at progressive acceleration and deceleration.

When to return to Sport

Sports physiotherapist will use fitness tests to determine if flexibility and strength have returned to normal. The athlete should also complete a sprint and sport specific training session prior to return to competition.


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