By 90Min
October 17, 2017

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.

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