Suffering a hamstring strain is never good - it often occurs when a player is sprinting, and thus this is an injury more likely to affect forwards than backs.
The problem with hamstring strains is that they can be slow to heal, resulting in significant loss of playing time. In addition, players who have suffered a hamstring strain once are more prone to this injury in the future. Proper rest and rehabilitation are thus essential to avoid a recurrent problem.
A hamstring strain is usually a non-contact injury, and is common among any athletes who runs, jumps, or kicks. Players often describe a popping or tearing sensation at the moment of injury.
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.
What symptoms should you look out for? Typically you will experience pain in the rear of the upper leg, often very sharp and sudden, plus swelling and bruising. It's possible that you might 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
Full rehabilitation is essential before returning to normal activities, as the risk of re-injury is high.