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Child Orthopedics
Spine - Cervical
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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I strained my right hamstring muscle playing soccer during practice. The coach wants me to sit out for six weeks to be sure I'm completely better and avoid a re-injury. But that's almost to the end of the season. Is this really necessary?

Hamstring injuries are fairly common in athletes or others participating in recreational sports. The injury can be fairly debilitating for a competitive athlete, requiring at least two weeks (and as much as six weeks) rest for recovery. And even with proper care, the recurrence rate for reinjury is fairly high. There's evidence that at least one-third of injured professional or amateur athletes older than 18 will reinjure themselves within the same season. The rate is much higher (60 to 70 per cent) for recurrence in future seasons. Management of hamstring injuries usually centers on treating the acute injury and taking a look at risk factors. If any of those risk factors for injury can be modified, treatment should be directed toward doing so. This might be stretching and flexibility exercises for tight hamstrings or muscle retraining for muscle imbalances or muscle weakness. It turns out the biggest risk factor for hamstring injury really is a previous hamstring strain. Athletes with at least one previous hamstring injury were two to six times more likely to have another similar (or worse) hamstring injury. And most of those second injuries occurred soon after the first injury (within eight weeks' time). But it's not safe to say that if you have an initial injury and it's been eight weeks without a second injury, that you won't reinjure yourself. Many athletes suffer a reinjury even a year (or more) later. The most success has been seen with functional rehab including progressive agility drills and trunk stabilization (core training) exercises. In the interest of your future sports participation, it might be wise to follow your coach's advice. Use this time to restore normal movement and balance of the hamstring and quadriceps muscles. Participate in a functional rehab program that will prepare you for full return-to-sport at the end of your bench time. See it as an investment in your future sports career.


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