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This article will discuss the two types of hamstring muscle strains (Type I and Type II) and their implications for recovery

Have you ever felt that ‘Twang’ in your hamstring? If you have recurrent injuries, you will know exactly what we are talking about.

Hamstring injuries are common in high speed movements and are prevalent in sports such as AFL, soccer and track and field events.

“It has become evident that the rehabilitation process is not as simple as to perform stretches and do hamstring curls in the weights room, a scientific evidence based approach is needed.”

Studies have shown that Australian rules footballers can be up to 30% more susceptible to a hamstring strain within a single season if a hamstring strain has previously occurred.

Clinical investigations and studies have now narrowed hamstring injuries into 2 main types: type 1 and type 2. The category you are placed in will completely change your rehabilitation, time frames and ways you approach rehabilitation.

The Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2 Hamstring Strains

Type 1 and type 2 hamstring strains can be differentiated by their location and mechanism of injury.

The more common type 1 hamstring strain occurs more commonly during high speed running activities. The location of injury is typically along the mid belly of the biceps femoris muscle (hamstring group) – Usually the mid to upper third of the hamstring.

Type 1 injuries are common in AFL, sprinting and track field events.

Type II injuries usually occur during slower movements on the field. These include sliding for a tackle, kicking, splits – most often seen in ballet dancers and soccer. The location of these injuries is usually higher up in the hamstring along the tendon of semimembranosus so is considered of more a tendon injury than a muscular one.

Type II hamstring injuries are more common in soccer during tackles, kicking and during dancers such as in Ballet.

How to Distinguish Between Type 1 and Type 2 Hamstring Strains?

Type 1 hamstring muscle injuries usually occur during high speed running activities such as during an all out effort on the field. Case studies suggests that the biceps femoris muscle is more commonly injured during the terminal swing phase of running – a time when it is working eccentrically.

Indications of a type 1 strain

  • Sudden onset of pain which stops them from running
  • Pain in the mid to upper portion of the hamstring

Type 2 hamstring strains are more common in sports which require that the lower limb be moved a larger range of motion, such as kicking above the head or sliding for a tackle. The mechanism is an excessive stretch of the hamstrings at slower speeds.

Indications of a type 2 strain

  • Injury has occurred while moving at a slower speed
  • Injured limb was moving in a slower fashion as in during a slide tackle or split position
  • Location is higher up towards the buttocks

Management and Outcomes of Type 1 and Type 2 Hamstring Strains

Type 1 hamstring injuries usually have an initial worse onset of pain and dysfunction. However due to their location and the nature of the injuries, these usually have a faster recovery period than type 2 hamstring strains.

Type 2 hamstring strains, initially, cause a less dramatic reduction in performance than type 1 strains. However their rehabilitation time frame is usually longer than of type 1, usually by at least several weeks.

It is important to communicate with the athlete that type II strains will need a longer recovery time frame so their expectations are met, if not, there will be unrealistic expectations from the client which can be frustrating.

“The more proximal (nearest to the glute muscle) the hamstring muscle has occurred, the longer the recovery period – essentially, type 2 hamstring injuries have a longer recovery time than type 1.”

Excessive stretching and heavy load exercises need to be avoided during type 2 hamstring muscle injuries as these can aggravate their condition.

Essentially the progress and return to sport guidelines need to be assessed by an expert such as a Physiotherapist, who has the skills and qualifications necessary to make decisions about when you should progress running and drills relating to your chosen sport.

Are Hamstring injuries frustrating and recurring for you?

Book into your EXPERT Physiotherapy assessment and treatment specifically for hamstring injuries

In this EXPERT session you will receive

  • A full body assessment to assess your flexibility and movement control
  • How your injury relates to your chosen sport and how to prevent them from occurring
  • Hands on treatment to relieve any pain or tension
  • A step by step treatment plan to prevent further injuries

This full body assessment and treatment is only $39 for new clients.

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