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Let's stride towards hamstring recovery

HAMSTRING injury is normally associated with explosive sports, running, particularly sprinting, rugby, hurling, tennis etc. You often see players hobbling off the pitch clutching the back of their leg. Which is usually a pulled hamstring.

The leg just comes to a very quick stop. It can feel like the leg is going into permanent cramp. The cause of a pulled hamstring is thought to be directly linked to not stretching enough before your run etc.

For example, for those who run or sprint in their sport, often the back of their thigh muscles can be very tight, even the thigh bicep, which is similar to the bicep in your arm, develops a peak or a roundness.

If constant stretching or plyometrics is not worked on every day for at least 15 minutes, this area will be prone to tightness. Some of our great athletes' careers have been cut short due to constant hamstring problems.

The hamstrings are not ideally suited to explosive movements. There are three sections or muscles that originate from the top of the pelvis.

With such a wide area, blood flow is often very slow, which affects circulation and can slow down the healing process.

The middle section of the hamstring, near the thigh bicep, heals quicker because of more blood circulation.

The pain can often originate from the hip of glutes and sometimes shooting pain down your hip and leg, which can be sciatica.

Gluteal pain can be treated quickly by a physio or osteopath, because that area is a pathway for warning signs for other injuries in the area.

You've heard the old saying "pain in the bum", this is medically proximal hamstring strain. Glute strain can come from over-use, working too hard and weakness in the surrounding area.

This is why we recommend an overall body workout. To tone all the muscles, not only the ones in the legs.

And even those who run, find that when they use a proper weight-training programme their legs can be sore, which often surprises even the more experienced runners. So a full body workout is best.

> Pat Henry