Both Liverpool and the Senegal national team will miss their star winger Sadio Mane for a crucial period, due to a reported hamstring injury.
The worst thing about hamstring problems, as many professional footballers can tell you, is that re-injury rates are extremely high, with some studies claiming >50% re-injury rate within the same season.
Here’s everything you need to know about the MCL in one minute…
What are the Hamstrings?
The Hamstrings are a group of 4 muscles in the posterior thigh:
- Semi-membranousus and Semi-tendinosis muscles located at the lateral
- 2 bulks of the Bicep femoris muscle are at her medial side
Most injuries occur at the myotendinous junction – where the muscular ‘meat’ transitions into the cord-like tendon.
Some cases will have an avulsion fracture where the muscle pulls off a bit of the bone it was attached to.
What does it feel like?
- marked pain and extensive bruising at the posterior aspect of the thigh.
- In severe tears, there might be a palpable gap (or an enlarged muscular ‘lump’ which is due to the muscle belly contracting onto itself since its distal end is loose)
What should I do?
Most tears will heal after 4 weeks of RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) but tears with associated avulsion fractures might repair surgical repair.
The mainstay is to prevent/decrease repeated injuries.
Proper warm-up and stretching are theoretically useful, as are proprioceptive neuromuscular training and eccentric strengthening exercises (e.g. Nordic hamstring exercise).
When must I see a Doctor?
- If the pain is persistent and doesn’t improve within 2 weeks
- when there is marked pain at the most proximal (Ischial tuberosity) since that’s where avulsion fractures occur.
When can I resume playing?
In general, the patients are allowed to resume light training around 4 weeks and gradually increase it back to a normal training load.
Most players can safely return to competition when their strength reaches 90% of contralateral leg.