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DR Katie Willy

Why are there so many hamstring injuries?

Watching the football over the weekend and seeing Jordan De Goey and Darcy Moore have hamstring “feelings” got me thinking of the recurrent issues these 2 guys, and plenty of others have. 

There is a new term in sports, “Hamstring Awareness”.  This has come about I think because often players are feeling their hamstring arc up but as in the case with Darcy Moore. Fortunately for him there was no injury, but no wonder he’s gets antsy about it, it’s been a big issue for him.   

Unfortunately for Jordan at 23 years old, the case was a strain of the hamstring muscle…AGAIN.  Thing is his pre-injury mechanical set-up will have led to this, despite their access to highly skilled health & fitness staff at the Collingwood Football Club (CFC), working extremely hard to get these guys match-fit.   

So why are so many people struggling with hamstrings?

Why are Jordan and Darcy struggling when they have such quality rehabilitation? 

Why do we now have this “Hamstring Awareness” term?  

Next will be a week dedicated to this muscle group it’s so susceptible to injury, Hamstring Awareness Week, I can see it now.  

But really jokes aside, there is a reason the hamstrings are such an issue and the reason is they have such a big, powerful job to decelerate the knee.  The basics of this are that when your knee straightens, the hamstring will contract to slow the momentum to protect your knee.  It’s a good job, we want this.   

BUT if other joints in the body are not flowing from previous injury whether it be hip, ankle, knee, back, pelvic joints (or something else), then we have a bigger issue.  That lower leg flying through at a million miles an hour when these guys run and kick needs balanced mechanical movement through the hips, pelvis, spine, ribcage, ankle and so on.  We call it a hamstring issue but really we are just identifying what is called the “tissue-causing symptom”.  The hammy is taking too much load, doing too much of the work and is completely exposed to a mechanically disadvantaged position, hence it strains.   

How did this mechanical disadvantage come about for the hamstring? 

Good question.   

Something else happened.  Seems vague.  But that couldn’t be further from the truth.   

Another tissue is not loading the most efficient way and the hamstring with it’s huge job is unable to do it’s job from the best mechanical position.  But why? 

What’s the answer??  Is there one??

Well we think there is.   

Find the old trauma history that set up this mechanical disadvantage resulting in the injury.   

There will be something in Jordan de Goey’s and Darcy Moore’s history that led to this, (and everyone else with hammy issues for that matter).  

Unfortunately for these 2 young guns, without someone identifying THEIR HISTORY responsible, are likely destined for future hamstring issues, potentially career-ending.  And that has been the case for so many elite and not so elite sports people before them.  They are stuck in this position unless someone suss’s out what THEIR mechanical disadvantage is.  Any part can only get better based on everything else around it.  The injury history of a person’s body creates a self-limiting environment.   

Consider the money and time these big clubs throw into working this out.  These players at the CFC will have been treated so well, everything their therapists know will have been tried and implemented. From core work, balance training, running analysis with computerised slow-motion assessment, dry-needling, massage therapy, eccentric loading, Alter-G Treadmill, hyperbaric chamber and the list goes on.  They will feel like they are trying EVERYTHING.  And given this new episode for Jordan they will likely go back to that list and start the rehab process again.    Unless you overcome one important factor, they will only get better to the same point each time. 

Considering this issue continues for these players it’s clear to me that they are missing a vital piece. 

So what piece is it?? 

Plain & simple – working out which joints are setting up their mechanical disadvantage for the hamstring.  And yes there is a systematic way to do it so it’s not a needle-in-the-haystack.  Then you re-teach those pre-injured, thought to be fully recovered – but clearly are not body parts, their movement capacity/ability/awareness and overcome the load imbalance hamstring injury cycle.  How do you know which one/s you need to re-train?  Another excellent question. 

That’s what we do at Boroondara Osteopathy.  We leave no stone unturned in looking for THAT piece by asking direct questions about a person’s history.  

We piece together the mechanical set-up issues people adopt from previous injury, that result in situations like this for Darcy and Jordan.  Nathan Buckley had the same (can you tell I’m a Magpies supporter…haha).   

It’s ALL about the mechanical set-up.  

A big picture wholistic view of the person’s full injury history and how they came to be.  If you understand how the mechanics of all the joints in the body flow as a unit, and you establish what is missing in a person’s movement and how it relates to the tissue, then you have an opportunity to re-train full body patterns and balance out the mechanical load, in this case, for the hamstrings.   

A possibility to re-engage with body parts that had suffered previous injuries, and unravelling the compensation patterns that occurred as a result.  It’s the compensations that are the mechanical disadvantage, the pre-injury set-up. 

They wont have tried what we do at Boroondara Osteopathy, with Gary Ward’s Anatomy in Motion.   

I know this because I am one of very few practitioners in this country that has learnt this way of thinking, of unravelling old history in the body to bring back true balance in the tissues.   

Gary Ward who wrote “What the Foot” is the brains behind the full body mechanical patterns we base all our treatment on in clinic.  When you teach people how to use ALL of their anatomy, the parts that are struggling as is the hamstring in these 2 guys, can once again work in their optimal mechanical state, a renewed mechanical environment. 

It’s liberating to feel when someone opens up your mechanical potential.  The freedom of full body motion. 

I only wish these guys get an opportunity to do so and stay out on the park. 

Give us a call or book online if you want to find out for yourself! 

Go Pies 2019! 


Have I left you wanting to know more?

Listen to this recent podcast, an interview with @garyward_aim (CLICK HERE)

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