I’ve pulled my hamstrings again.. And again!
If you’re an avid soccer player or runner, you may identify with this… Recurrent hamstring strains! At Castlereagh Physiotherapy and Sports Clinic, we see many cases of posterior thigh pain and we understand that they be a nuisance to your sport and frustrating to get rid of.
Sometimes, other structures can mask as hamstring strains and if you incorrectly treat it as a hamstring strain, you won’t find long term relief and these “hamstring strains” will keep returning.
True hamstring strains are common in sports which require running, strong push offs, sudden start/stops or kicking. The hamstring muscles are a big, powerful group of muscles that contract (shorten) to bend your knee but more importantly they work to stop your knee from hyperextending when you extend it (think of kicking a ball, the hamstrings elongate but are still working to stop your lower leg from flinging off your knee). This is the “eccentric control” of a muscle where the muscle lengthens but is still activated and working to slow down a movement at the joint. Muscle strains often happen in this phase of muscle activity, and that is how hamstring strains commonly occur.
However, there can be other conditions masking as a hamstring strain. Beneath the hamstring muscles lie the big sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is formed by nerves coming out of the lower back area and they join to form the sciatic nerve which runs in the back of your hip, down the back of your thigh and splits into 2 main branches of the lower leg nerves. Just like muscles and joints, nerves must be able to move (described as gliding, sliding and tensioning). If the nerves are unable to move (for example, if they lose movement due to an old back or hip injury which now restricts the ability of the nerve to slide through joints or muscles), then nerves then become irritated and become symptomatic. In this case, the symptoms are similar to a hamstring strain but treating the hamstring muscles will not be effective.