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Hamstring Strains

The hamstrings are by far the most commonly injured muscles in 100m sprinters, accounting for two-thirds of all injuries in this event. This shows that in maximal speed sprinting, the hamstring muscle group is close to its injury threshold.

Why are the hamstrings so frequently injured in football?

In sports played on big fields like soccer and Aussie Rules, players often have to run at maximum speed and so hamstring strains are always going to be a common injury in these sports. For this reason, rugby league and union wingers are also susceptible.

Why are hamstring strain recurrences so common and is it possible to play with a hamstring strain?

Although hamstring strains differ greatly in their severity, the ‘average' hamstring strain often requires about 4-6 weeks to fully repair, rather than the 2-3 weeks that most people think. Most players can come back before full repair by running with a slightly decreased stride length on the injured side. This compromises speed for protection against the injured hamstring. It is thought that players who are unable to alter their gait during this fragile recovery period are more prone to recurrent hamstring strains. Secondary nerve injury and entrapment is also theorised to be a risk factor for recurrent hamstring strains, although there is little scientific evidence for this explanation.

Can hamstring strains be prevented?

There is some evidence to suggest that by strengthening the hamstrings together with the quadriceps in equal amounts, strength imbalances between the two groups can be avoided and may in turn prevent future hamstring strains. Other strategies include avoidance of sprint training on fatigued muscles i.e. after resistance training.
Tyson Gay Hamstring Strain
World 200m champion pulled up with a hamstring strain before the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
(Image sourced from The Australian)
Nick Riewoldt Hamstring Strain
Nick Riewoldt of St Kilda has suffered recurrent hamstring strains.
(Image sourced from The Herald Sun)
PLAYERS WHO HAVE HAD HAMSTRING STRAINS
Name Team Onset Year Sport
Daniel Mullen Adelaide United Week 1 2011-12 aleague
Milan Susak Adelaide United Week 14 2011-12 aleague
Francisco Usucar Adelaide United Week 21 2011-12 aleague
Rocky Visconte Brisbane Roar Week 1 2011-12 aleague
Troy Hearfield Central Coast Mariners Week 18 2011-12 aleague
Ante Rozic Gold Coast United Week 19 2011-12 aleague
Dylan Macallister Gold Coast United Week 12 2011-12 aleague
Fred Melbourne Heart Week 2 2011-12 aleague
Alex Terra Melbourne Heart Week 6 2011-12 aleague
Jonatan Germano Melbourne Heart Week 11 2011-12 aleague
Simon Colosimo Melbourne Heart Finals Week 1 2011-12 aleague
Harry Kewell Melbourne Victory Week 6 2011-12 aleague
Tiago Calvano Newcastle Jets Week 5 2011-12 aleague
Ruben Zadkovich Newcastle Jets Week 6 2011-12 aleague
Nikolai Topor-Stanley Newcastle Jets Week 11 2011-12 aleague
Travis Dodd Perth Glory Week 6 2011-12 aleague
Evan Berger Perth Glory Week 5 2011-12 aleague
Bas Van Den Brink Perth Glory Week 12 2011-12 aleague
Andrezinho Perth Glory Week 11 2011-12 aleague
Liam Miller Perth Glory Week 20 2011-12 aleague
Steven McGarry Perth Glory Week 25 2011-12 aleague
Liam Miller Perth Glory Finals Week 3 2011-12 aleague
Evan Berger Perth Glory Week 17 2011-12 aleague
Brett Emerton Sydney FC Week 3 2011-12 aleague
Nick Carle Sydney FC Week 12 2011-12 aleague
Brett Emerton Sydney FC Week 17 2011-12 aleague
Terry Antonis Sydney FC Week 16 2011-12 aleague
Sebastian Ryall Sydney FC Week 19 2011-12 aleague
Nicky Ward Wellington Phoenix Week 17 2011-12 aleague
Rocky Elsom Waratahs Pre Season 2012 UNION
Rod Davies Reds Pre Season 2012 UNION
Ma'afu Fia Highlanders Pre Season 2012 UNION
Sam Wykes Force Pre Season 2012 UNION
Brendon Leonard Chiefs R 1 2012 UNION
Anthony Fainga'a Reds R 1 2012 UNION
Alapati Leiua Hurricanes R 2 2012 UNION
Stewart Mills Sharks Trials 2012 NRL
Drury Low Raiders Pre Season 2012 NRL
Jason Ryles Storm Pre Season 2012 NRL
Chase Stanley Dragons R 1 2012 NRL
Stewart Mills Sharks R 4 2012 NRL
Jason Ryles Storm R 26 2012 NRL
David MacKay Adelaide R 9 2012 AFL
Brodie Martin Adelaide R 16 2012 AFL
Alex Browne Essendon Pre Season 2012 AFL
Alwyn Davey Essendon R 22 2012 AFL
Michael Hibberd Essendon R 5 2012 AFL
Ben Howlett Essendon R 19 2012 AFL
Michael Hurley Essendon R 15 2012 AFL
Michael Hurley Essendon R 4 2012 AFL
Nathan Lovett-Murray Essendon R 2 2012 AFL
David Myers Essendon R 2 2012 AFL
Jason Winderlich Essendon R 19 2012 AFL
Joel Corey Geelong R 18 2012 AFL
Cameron Hitchcock Port Adelaide R 19 2012 AFL
Andrew Moore Port Adelaide R 21 2012 AFL
Adam Schneider St Kilda R 1 2012 AFL
Rhys Stanley St Kilda R 14 2012 AFL
Rhys Stanley St Kilda R 8 2012 AFL
Ben McGlynn Sydney Finals week 1 2012 AFL
Josh Hill West Coast R 15 2012 AFL
Daniel Kerr West Coast R 18 2012 AFL
Will Schofield West Coast R 12 2012 AFL
Juan De Jongh Stormers Pre Season 2013 UNION
Deon Stegmann Bulls Round 2 2013 UNION
Elgar Watts Chiefs Round 2 2013 UNION
Mark Reddish Hurricanes Round 2 2013 UNION
Pat McCabe Brumbies Training 2013 UNION
Shaun Treeby Highlanders Round 4 2013 UNION
Tatafu Polota-Nau Waratahs Round 4 2013 UNION
Deon Stegmann Bulls Round 6 2013 UNION
Israel Dagg Crusaders Round 6 2013 UNION
Riaan Smit Cheetahs Round 7 2013 UNION
Tony Woodcock Highlanders Round 7 2013 UNION
Dan Carter Crusaders Round 8 2013 UNION
Andrew Smith Brumbies Round 9 2013 UNION
Sarel Pretorius Cheetahs Round 9 2013 UNION
Drew Mitchell Waratahs Round 10 2013 UNION
Sergeal Petersen Kings Round 12 2013 UNION
Corey Flynn Crusaders Round 14 2013 UNION
Siyanda Grey Kings Round 15 2013 UNION
Jano Vermaak Bulls Round 17 2013 UNION
Josh Bootsma Carlton Round 15 2013 AFL
Bryce Gibbs Carlton Round 5 2013 AFL
Chris Judd Carlton Pre-Season 2013 AFL
Kane Lucas Carlton Round 10 2013 AFL
Stewart Crameri Essendon Round 7 2013 AFL
Dustin Fletcher Essendon Round 22 2013 AFL
Scott Gumbleton Essendon Pre-Season 2013 AFL
Liam Patrick Gold Coast Round 5 2013 AFL
Stephen Coniglio GWS Round 15 2013 AFL
James Frawley Melbourne Round 10 2013 AFL
James Frawley Melbourne Round 19 2013 AFL
Jack Watts Melbourne Round 5 2013 AFL
Dom Cassisi Port Adelaide Round 8 2013 AFL
Angus Monfries Port Adelaide NAB Cup Round 1 2013 AFL
Brandon Ellis Richmond Round 9 2013 AFL
Brant Colledge West Coast Round 12 2013 AFL
Brad Dick West Coast Round 10 2013 AFL
Eric MacKenzie West Coast Round 1 2013 AFL
Luke Shuey West Coast Round 14 2013 AFL
Luke Shuey West Coast Round 17 2013 AFL
Easton Wood Western Bulldogs NAB Cup Round 3 2013 AFL
Luke Kelly Eels Round 1 2013 NRL
Travis Waddell Knights Round 1 2013 NRL
Josh McGuire Broncos Round 2 2013 NRL
Justin Hodges Broncos Round 2 2013 NRL
Isaac De Gois Sharks Round 1 2013 NRL
Brad Takairangi Titans Round 3 2013 NRL
Aidan Sezer Titans Round 4 2013 NRL
Kevin Gordon Titans Round 6 2013 NRL
Chris Lawrence Tigers Round 7 2013 NRL
Jarrod Croker Raiders Round 7 2013 NRL
Scott Prince Broncos Round 9 2013 NRL
Joel Edwards Raiders Round 10 2013 NRL
Matt Hilder Knights Round 11 2013 NRL
Russell Packer Warriors Round 16 2013 NRL
Nathan Gardner Sharks Round 14 2013 NRL
Jon Green Sharks Round 14 2013 NRL
Charlie Gubb Panthers Round 18 2013 NRL
Sonny Bill Williams Roosters Round 17 2013 NRL
Luke Kelly Eels Round 20 2013 NRL
Charly Runciman Dragons Round 21 2013 NRL
Chris Sandow Eels Round 20 2013 NRL
Russell Packer Warriors Round 22 2013 NRL
Brett Stewart Sea Eagles Round 23 2013 NRL
Todd Carney Sharks Round 24 2013 NRL
Brett Stewart Sea Eagles Round 25 2013 NRL
Todd Carney Sharks Finals Round 1 2013 NRL
Luke O'Donnell Roosters Finals Round 2 2013 NRL
Alessandro Del Piero Sydney FC Round 8 2013-14 ALEAGUE
Jeremy Brockie Wellington Phoenix Round 8 2013-14 ALEAGUE
Lionel Mapoe Lions Round 1 2014 UNION
Pearce Hanley Brisbane Round 4 2014 AFL
Chris Judd Carlton Round 5 2014 AFL
Ben Sinclair Collingwood Round 2 2014 AFL
Jake Carlisle Essendon Round 22 2014 AFL
Courtney Dempsey Essendon Round 2 2014 AFL
Michael Hibberd Essendon Pre-season 2014 AFL
David Myers Essendon Round 6 2014 AFL
Jason Winderlich Essendon Pre-season 2014 AFL
Tendai Mzungu Fremantle Round 19 2014 AFL
Kade Kolodjashnij Gold Coast Round 17 2014 AFL
Cyril Rioli Hawthorn Round 8 2014 AFL
Cyril Rioli Hawthorn Round 15 2014 AFL
Jack Billings St Kilda Round 20 2014 AFL
Daniel Marksworth St Kilda Round 14 2014 AFL
Mark Hutchings West Coast Round 22 2014 AFL
Chris Masten West Coast Round 3 2014 AFL
Adam Cooney Western Bulldogs Round 13 2014 AFL
Jarrod Mullen Knights Pre Season 2014 NRL
Brett Stewart Sea Eagles Round 1 2014 NRL
Darius Boyd Knights Round 1 2014 NRL
Jack Stockwell Dragons Pre Season 2014 NRL
David Nofoaluma Tigers Pre Season 2014 NRL
Ben Hannant Broncos Round 2 2014 NRL
William Zillman Titans Round 3 2014 NRL
Chris Lawrence Tigers Round 3 2014 NRL
Dave Simmons Panthers Round 4 2014 NRL
Antonio Winterstein Cowboys Round 6 2014 NRL
James Gavet Tigers Round 7 2014 NRL
Todd Carney Sharks Round 8 2014 NRL
Albert Kelly Titans Round 9 2014 NRL
Kyle Stanley Dragons Round 11 2014 NRL
Jeff Robson Sharks Round 12 2014 NRL
Jonathan Wright Sharks Round 12 2014 NRL
Sosaia Feki Sharks Round 12 2014 NRL
Aiden Tolman Bulldogs Round 13 2014 NRL
David Fa'alogo Knights Round 14 2014 NRL
Joel Riethmuller Cowboys Training 2014 NRL
Ray Thompson Cowboys Round 15 2014 NRL
Roger Tuivasa-Sheck Roosters Round 16 2014 NRL
Aiden Tolman Bulldogs Round 17 2014 NRL
David Mead Titans Round 17 2014 NRL
Brenko Lee Raiders Round 18 2014 NRL
William Zillman Titans Round 18 2014 NRL
Luke Bailey Titans Round 19 2014 NRL
Justin Hodges Broncos Round 21 2014 NRL
Konrad Hurrell Warriors Round 21 2014 NRL
Brenko Lee Raiders Round 21 2014 NRL
Brenko Lee Raiders Round 23 2014 NRL
David Mead Titans Round 21 2014 NRL

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