If, like Michael Owen, you have suffered a hamstring tear, you will know what a painful injury this can be.
Hamstring tears are problematic for athletes because they tend to heal slowly, resulting in significant loss of playing time. Furthermore, once you have suffered this injury once, you are at high risk for recurrence unless you follow a proper course of rest and rehabilitation.
A hamstring tear is a non-contact injury which typically occurs in athletes who run, jump, or kick. It can often follow a sudden burst of speed, with the patient reporting a popping or tearing sensation.
These injuries are categorized into 3 grades of severity:
First-degree injury: The result of over-stretching the muscle, this involves tearing of only a few muscle or tendon fibers.
Second-degree injury: A more severe muscle tear, but without a complete disruption of the musculotendinous unit.
Third-degree injury: A complete tear of the musculotendinous unit.
Symptoms include pain in the rear of the upper leg, often very sharp and sudden, swelling, and bruising. You may also be able to feel a mass at the injury site.
Causes of this injury include:
- Poor flexibility
- Inadequate strength
- Muscle fatigue from prolonged exercise
- Insufficient warm-up
- Poor technique
It is essential that you fully rehabilitate this injury before returning to normal activities, as the risk of re-injury is high.