Understanding what the causes and risk factors are to a hamstring strain is paramount to being able to treat the injury.
Hamstring injuries can be debilitating and chronic, if not treated correctly. More often that not, hamstring strains occur because of a biomechanical or postural issue. All of that is of course controlled by the nervous system, which is also a key player.
Below is a list of risk factors that predispose athletes to a hamstring strain. This is not an all inclusive list, but a rather very good start when trying to identify who is at risk.
- Hip Strength – Glute Medius strength is imperative to controlling the lower extremity. If the glutes aren’t functioning, the hamstrings will attempt to make up for their weakness with the hamstrings. That becomes synergistic dominance, which will overtax and eventually injure the hamstrings.
- Core Stability – The core is no doubt the foundation for all movement. Without a stable core, the extremities will struggle to maintain control.
- Neurological Patterning – Linking the upper and lower extremities along fascial lines and specific sling systems is paramount for controlling the entire body. Having tons of strength doesn’t do a lot of good if you can’t turn on the correct muscles in the right sequence.
- Power – Powerful athletes don’t put themselves in poor positions where they are exposed to injury. And, if they do get into suspect positions, they are able to pull themselves out of them without being hurt.
- Asymmetries – Research shows that asymmetries are one of the largest indicators of future injury. Any type of asymmetry will change mechanics and loading principles and exposing them to injury. In this case, an injury may occur because of a right side/left side asymmetry, but it is more likely that the quads may be more dominant than the hamstrings, causing pain and injury.
- Hip Flexor Mobility – If the hip flexors are tight, they will cause an anterior pelvic rotation, thus putting the hamstrings on stretch. Starting in a stretched position will certainly cause irritation during athletic movements.
- Eccentric Hamstring Strength – During running, the hamstrings work almost exclusively in an eccentric manner. Thus, strengthening them concentrically (leg curls) doesn’t make sense.
Also, our PROvention™ training system is designed to address the factors listed above. There are several key components that make the PROvention™ system extremely effective. Click on each component to learn more:
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