Welcome to the second blog of our Hamstring series, where we look at hamstring muscle strength.
A huge question in sports medicine is what are the causes of hamstring injuries. This has been a topic of interest for decades.
High quality research back in 1997 found that in Australian Rules Footballers, weakness in the hamstrings pre-season both when compared to the quadriceps, and when compared to the opposite leg, was related to hamstring injuries in that season. The same study found that flexibility was not related to injury risk.1 A study in 2015 found that eccentric strength differences between sides (left compared to right) was also a risk factor to injury in Rugby Players. 2 . Both studies found that having had a previous injury within the last 12 months, and increasing age, were also risk factors.
So the question that then is critical for us is, are my hamstrings weak? Am I at risk of hamstring injury when I run and sprint and play sport?
From runners, to footballers, to office workers - no matter who you are or what you do, you can be affected by problems of the hamstrings. So in our new blog series we are going to work through the story of the hamstrings.
What are they and what do they do for us? How do you keep your hamstrings healthy? What can go wrong with your hamstrings? How do you recover from hamstring injury?
You can find out answers to these through our Hamstring Blog series. This blog, the first in the series, takes a look at what the hamstrings are and what are the general principals to stay injury-free.
What are the Hamstrings?
The hamstrings are the group of muscles that make up the bulk at the back of your thigh. The upper hamstring connects via the hamstring tendon onto your sit-bone (ischial tuberosity), and travels down to just below your knee. The hamstring is actually 3 muscles, the Biceps Femoris which travels to the outer side of your knee, and the semimembranosis and semitendi...
A research study from Sydney University has looked at the impact of weight training (or 'strength promoting exercise' as it is called in the study) on a group of 80,000 people. Data was taken from the Health Survey for England and the Scottish Health Survey from 1994–2008. The study compared Strength Promoting Exercise (it could be gym exercise, or body weight strength training) and its impact on mortality (all-cause, cancer, and cardiovascular disease mortality).
The results reveal some really encouraging positive relationships between weight training and health. The study found that in those who did weight training, there was a 23% reduced risk of premature death, and a 31% reduction in the number of cancer related deaths. Those numbers are impressive.
This study has inspired me to outline some of the facts we know about muscle strength, health, and exercise. Strength training is something we should all consider including in our weekly exercise mix- regardless of our age or...
With the correct rehabilitation program, you can significantly reduce the risk or a recurring ankle sprain. The rehab program needs to include balance and proprioception training, and calf strength and balance.
If you have acute back pain, can you tell if it is being caused by a slipped disc (AKA a prolapsed or bulging disc), or if it is a more simple (but still painful) muscle spasm? It is not always possible to tell the difference - both can be extremely painful and stop you in your tracks.
There are signs and symptoms which may indicate a disc injury - signs which you should not ignore. If these are present, you should seek help for your back pain quickly. Early diagnosis and help can prevent further damage being done.
How it starts. The onset of pain can be sudden and severe with lifting or sudden motion. But it is often also associated with some days or weeks of having an achey or stiff back which suddenly deteriorates.
Pain in the leg. Pain may be severe in the back, but also will be severe in the leg and/buttock on the side of the injury. This pain is produced by a compressed nerve - compressed or irritated by the prolapsed disc.