The most common injury over the last 20 years in the AFL is the hamstring injury with only minor improvements in injury rates in the last few years mainly due to improved fitness training and better emphasis on injury prevention. The hamstring consists of 3 main muscles in the posterior aspect of the thigh, 2 on the inside of the leg and 1 on the outside of the leg. This outside muscle, the Biceps Femoris is the most commonly injured part of the hamstring group. The two main ways that the hamstring is injured is during an overstretching of the muscle or whilst the athlete is sprinting. Hence one of the main injury prevention components is careful consideration to how fast and how often the athlete sprints during training so that training and games are carefully mimicked. There are many specific exercises that target the hamstring muscle in the gym and this can improve the strength, endurance and tolerance the muscle is able withstand. A skilled sports physio needs to assess and determine whether other factors are contributing to the hamstring injury. This can involve the lower back, hip, knee and the nerves that run down the back of the leg. Typically a small hamstring injury (grade 1) will take 3-4 weeks to adequately recover to play sport whilst more severe (grade 3) can involve many months depending on how much muscle and tendon damage there is.
The physiotherapists at Adelaide Crows Sports Medicine Clinic are well experienced at dealing with hamstring injuries. They will plan a specific rehabilitation programme involving strength and running exercises and treat not only the injured site of the muscle but also other areas such as your low back if it is seen to contribute to the problem.