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What we’ll cover
  1. What are the hamstrings and what is their role?
  2. What are the risk factors for sustaining a hamstring injury?
  3. What can we do to help prevent hamstring strains?
  4. What should you do if you strain your hamstring muscle?

Hamstring injuries in AFL

Hamstring strains or tears are the most common sporting injury experienced in AFL football and have a high recurrence rate when not rehabilitated properly. With local football clubs returning to preseason in recent weeks, now is a great time to talk about hamstring strains and what we can do to help prevent them from occurring.

What are the hamstrings and what is their role?

We have three different hamstring muscles that are positioned at the back of our thighs, originating from the ischial tuberosity (sit bone) on the pelvis and attaching over the back of our knee joint. The hamstring muscles act to achieve both extension of the hip as well as flexion/ bending of the knee. Any time you are walking, running or jumping your hamstrings are hard at work. In walking and running, the hamstrings work are largely as an antagonist to the quadriceps and control the deceleration of the knee.

What are the risk factors for sustaining a hamstring injury?

  • Poor/ inadequate warm up – performing an inadequate warm up predisposes to hamstring injury as the body is not properly prepared/ activated for the upcoming sporting demands.
  • Previous hamstring strain – those who have previously injured a hamstring are more prone to recurrence due to poor rehabilitation.
  • Poor hamstring flexibility – If your muscles have poor flexibility they may not be able to bear the full force of some sporting demands.
  • Sports participation – sports involving sprinting and rapid changes of direction, as well as other sports such as dancing that require extreme muscle stretching make hamstring strains more common.
  • Muscular imbalances – It is believed that an imbalance between your quadriceps and hamstring muscle strength may increase your likelihood of hamstring injury.

What can we do to help prevent hamstring strains?

Completing a hamstring focused strengthening program has shown to reduce the rate of hamstring injuries by up to 70% as well as helping you to perform at a higher level. Rehab exercises will largely focus on improving the strength and length of your hamstring muscles, but may also include strength/ stability training of the lower spine, hips, knees and even ankles.

Due to the hamstrings unique role in decelerating the lower limb to prepare and position the leg for ground contact during running/ sprinting activities, it is important that we train our hamstring strength in a similar way. Eccentric hamstring exercises are specific to the function of the muscle during these types of activities as they help to strengthen the muscle as it lengthens throughout its range of motion. Some examples of eccentric hamstring exercises are shown below.

What should you do if you strain your hamstring muscle?

Acute hamstring management consists of the RICER principles: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, Referral. It is important to seek a physiotherapist assessment soon after injury in order to help minimise time spent on the sidelines and ensure you complete a full rehabilitation program to reduce your risk of recurrence. A physiotherapist will be able to assess the extent of your injury, help determine any underlying predisposing factors, commence a rehabilitation/ graduated strengthening program and assist you with your return to sport journey.

If you have sustained a hamstring strain or need to prevent a hamstring strain this season, call our friendly team or book online.


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Last week our team celebrated another great year. 

Whilst Melbourne’s weather had its own plans, we were still determined to keep with the theme of ‘Italian Summer’. We let our hair down to master the art of mixology 🍸🍹followed by an Italian feast. Friday morning Run Club with the team. Practicing what we preach!

Staying stronger, healthier and happier. This time last week, our team was nervously completing their final preparations for @melbmara . 

Congratulations to our physiotherapists and ME community who ran on the day.

Dilen and Michael completed their first marathons. Abbey and Lizzie smashed out their first half. Last Sunday, our team headed down to see our own Matt Warren win a premiership in the VAFA Premier Men’s Competition. Last week our team dedicated a full day to professional development and team building. At ME Physio we pride ourselves on collaboration to put you at the centre of everything we do. 

Our team covered the latest treatments for back pain, financial well-being and finished off the day with salsa dancing. 

Many thanks to our guests including James Schomburgk from @the2ndvisitphysio , Financial Planners Tony Vikram & Cameron Bishop and the @salsafoundation At ME Physio, our focus is on helping you get stronger so that you can keep doing the things you love.

For Tony and Joan, healthier and stronger is being able to navigate the iconic Coast to Coast Walk in the UK! We recently had the pleasure of hosting Elise Bujor from Women’s & Men’s Health Physiotherapy to discuss women’s health issues across the lifespan. 

Our team pride themselves on staying up to date to ensure you’re able to stay healthier, happier and stronger. Huge milestones over the past few weeks with both Tom and Jude from @delasallefc doing their first bit of running in their rehab. 

Tom is on the return from an ankle dislocation whilst Jude is putting in the hard work following a knee reconstruction. Last week our team enjoyed some friendly rivalry at the footy. 

With finals around the corner, some of our team can now safely make holidays plans for September. We recently had the pleasure of hosting the podiatry team from @sespodiatry. 

Our physiotherapists Michael and Abbey presented on rehabilitation following Achilles surgical repair and ankle surgery. Last weekend some of our team got together to complete the 10 km run @runmelbourne. There was no finish line picture as some were keen to run another 15 km!

Whilst running wasn’t for some - brunch was well received by everyone. Shoulder impingement can be incredibly frustrating and painful. 

Tony has been working closely with our physiotherapists Vernon and Dilen to get on top of his shoulder pain. His treatment plan has included hands-on physiotherapy and individualised exercises in our hydrotherapy and strength programs.

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