This common exposure to injury means that most athletes incorporate preventative measures into their training program to minimize the risk of hamstring strains and injuries.
Traditional, best practice methods for preventing a hamstring injury include proper strength training of the hamstring muscles (back of the thigh) to ensure that they are equally balanced with the quadriceps muscles (front of the thigh), and ample warm-up and stretching of the muscles before beginning exercise and training.
In an effort to improve preventative care, researchers also recently found that "the addition of a sports chiropractic intervention to the current best practices" methods significantly reduced leg muscle strains, thus supporting the addition of chiropractic care as a preventative treatment for hamstring injuries.
1 The randomized controlled study followed Australian football players over the course of one playing season to determine if a sports chiropractic intervention reduced the number of lower limb strains and weeks missed on the field.
The control group received only the traditional best practice care but the intervention group received both the traditional best practice care and a sports chiropractic intervention.
The players receiving the sports chiropractic intervention were treated with a variety of chiropractic manual therapies including manipulations or mobilizations (adjustments) made to the spine and extremities.
The researchers noted a statistically significant decrease in the number of hamstring strains for the chiropractic intervention group when compared to the control group, which received no chiropractic intervention.
Chiropractors are licensed Doctors of Chiropractic (DC) and Certified Chiropractic Sports Physicians (CCSP) are Doctors of Chiropractic with a special certification in treating sports injuries and optimizing physical fitness.
A chiropractor with specialized training as a chiropractic sports physician uses his or her expertise and advanced training of the biomechanics of the body to create individualized programs of care for athletes, which may involve speed, strength, and conditioning programs, and preventative and rehabilitative programs.
Sports specific conditioning and training of the leg muscles (quadriceps, hamstrings) has also been shown in studies to reduce hamstring strains and injuries.
According to one journal study, "increasing the amount of anaerobic interval training, stretching whilst the muscle is fatigued, and implementing sport specific training drills resulted in a significant reduction in the number and consequences of hamstring muscle strain injuries.
"2 Preventative measures can help minimize the risk of hamstring injury and reduce the severity if injured.
Hamstring injuries are accompanied by mild to severe pain in the back of the leg, tenderness, and/or bruising.
If a hamstring injury is detected, immediate care is required for optimal recovery.
The chiropractor or other treating physician usually recommends RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation).
An over the counter anti-inflammatory may also be recommended to reduce inflammation and swelling.
In severe cases of a hamstring tear, surgery may be required to reattach the hamstring.
Engaging a chiropractor in a preventative sports chiropractic intervention program has helped many athletes play longer, healthier, and stronger, and reduce the risk of painful, frustrating injuries.
Hoskins W, Pollard H.
The effect of a sports chiropractic manual therapy intervention on the prevention of back pain, hamstring and lower limb injuries in semi-elite Australian Rules footballers: a randomized controlled trial.
BMC Musculoskelet Disord.
2010 Apr 8;11:64.
Verrall GM, Slavotinek JP, Barnes PG.
The effect of sports specific training on reducing the incidence of hamstring injuries in professional Australian Rules football players.
Br J Sports Med.