Healthy Hammies: Injury Prevention for Your Hamstrings


It’s summer time and the Word Cup has gotten us all excited to play soccer. Doesn’t take much convincing to get you out and onto the field, right? Well, there are a few things you should know first to keep yourself from getting injured.

Hamstring strains (also referred to as a “pulled hamstring”) are very common in the athletic population. Soccer, basketball, football, and running are some of the common culprits. So, how do these injuries happen? And how can we reduce our risk?

For soccer players, a hamstring strain typically happens during the eccentric or deceleration phase of the kick (basically the forward/follow through phase). The hamstring is overstretched too quickly and tears. When it comes to baseball players, these injuries happen most often when sprinting to 1st base to be called “safe!” Runners encounter these hamstring injuries when they over stride and pull themselves forward with the use of their hamstrings. Uphill running most commonly irritates the injury.

So, how do we keep our hamstrings healthy and happy?

  1. Hamstring Flexibility (both static and dynamic)

  2. Hamstring strength (both concentric and eccentric, with more of a focus on eccentric strength)

  3. Hip flexor stretching to work on hip extension and reduce pre-existing tension on the hamstrings

  4. Gluteal muscle recruitment (with a focus on neuromuscular control)

  5. Working on the biomechanics of your running form to prevent predisposition

At Sarrica Physical Therapy & Wellness, we typically see patients after they have had a hamstring injury. Therefore, we treat them with soft tissue massage, myofascial release, stretching, and corrective exercise. We focus on making sure it doesn’t happen again once it has healed. That is accomplished with progressive loading, drills for control, and flexibility training. You will be provided with a home exercise program to perform on your own as well.

Look out for a follow up blog post on some of the stretches and corrective exercises I prescribe to my patients with hamstring strains.

If you or somebody you know is dealing with a hamstring strain, please contact us at 347-560-6920 for an evaluation.

Paul Nasri, PT, DPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Sarrica Physical Therapy & Wellness
Staff Physical Therapist