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Hamstring Injury Can Be a Challenge In Many Sports

Capsule of right knee-joint (distended). Poste...
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For many of you who have just competed in the Scenic Half Marathon and for those of you who enjoy jogging for health and fitness, you may at times experience hamstring strain. The hamstrings are comprised of three muscles on the posterior thigh and these muscles cross over two joints, the hip and the knee joint for hip extension and knee flexion movements.

In the forward swing of a running stride both the origin and insertion points of the hamstrings become taut.  With overexertion of this action, hamstring tears may occur creating pain and loss of full mobility.  As well, these muscles assist in lateral (outward) and medial (inward) rotation of the knee.  Experiencing sudden unexpected twists and torques, such as stepping on cracks or rocks, can create damage and pain.  Some hamstring injuries might occur from the quadriceps muscles being stronger than the hamstrings and overpowering them in movements.

All sports activities and actions require proper conditioning including adequate warm-up, effective stretching, and sufficient training time for muscle development and strength building.  When injuries occur, massage therapy is very effective in relieving the pain, spasms, and muscle shortening.  Massage strokes of gentle rubbing to deeper compression and broadening of muscle fibers increases important nutrient and fluid flows for improved healing time.  Also important is to build healthy and functional scar tissue free of adhesions that can limit mobility.

A knowledgeable massage therapist will utilize a variety of strokes to enable proper healing of hamstring injuries and strains.  Massage therapy prior to events is quite valuable as injury prevention supporting proper muscle tone, strength, length, and breadth for each specific activity requirement.  Follow up massage after an event also insures release of any lingering muscle tightness, utilizes proper stretching techniques and educates the athlete on effective movements before, during, and after events.

Including massage therapy as part of all sports activities becomes a wise decision for weekend sports enthusiasts as well as seasoned athletes.  It is not just a “fluff and buff” but an integral addition to athletic activities to be one’s optimal best at all times.

By Krystle Shapiro, LMT

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