One of the more common injuries I see are hamstring strains and tears. Most people tend to view a hamstring injury as a localised muscle tear (which is it) but often then seek treatment that is only applied locally to the site of injury. Although this needs to occur, if the non-local factors are not assessed and treated, then what was a single injury becomes an ongoing chronic condition where any excessive exertion leads to re-injury.
What are some of these non-local factors that I tend to look for when a patient presents with a hamstring strain? As most of you know, my job is to look at the underlying structure, the skeleton, and to see if its orientation is leading to overuse and overstrain in certain areas of the body. The more common ones I see that contribute to hamstring overload are:
1. Rotated pelvis
2. Pronated feet
3. Hyperlordotic lower back
4. Anterior pelvic tilt
Some easy little at home checks you can do to see if any of these are contributing in your case are:-
1. Side view in the mirror
A quick an easy check is to look at your profile from the side in the mirror. It takes 5 seconds but can tell you so much. Are your legs perpendicular to the floor or leaning forward a bit? Does your butt stick out? Do you have an overly large curve in your lower back? Any of these will contribute to a tightening and overloading of the hamstring.
2. Do you recurrently strain the hamstring on one particular side?
If so it usually will indicate that you have a rotated pelvis or a pronated foot.
3. Pronated feet check
If your feet are super flat, it’s pretty obvious and will contribute to all of the above non-local factors. But if your feet are mildly pronated, asymmetrically or functionally pronated, these will be harder to see but will still have a massive effect.
Roll your feet out so you are balancing on the edge of your feet and then let your feet drop. Do you sway forward a lot? If so it might be that your feet are letting you down.
Although hamstring strains are common and most cases will resolve on their own, with persistent or recurrent strains, try the few little checks out above and see if any are present in your case. If so, make an appointment and have it corrected.