Physiotherapy for Hamstring injuries

Watching and enjoying a Gaelic football game at the weekend I witnessed the all too common occurence of the hamstring injury. Unfortunately the player had to stop play and immediately began his rehabilitation with his soon to be close acquantence, the ice pack.It has been a while now since I hung up my boots but I clearly remember the sickening feeling of tightness in the hamstring at  the start of every season. Would this be another injury interupted season spent stretching on the floor, collecting balls behind the goals at training sessions and and lying face down on the physiotherapists table? Or my personal favourite, listening to the coach tell me how in their day there was no such thing as a hamstring injury.

Gaelic Football injuries

So what has changed over the last 20 years in regards to hamstring injuries in Gaelic Games and by obvious extension all field sports including football, rugby and Australian Rules. Hamstring injures still represent the single biggest injury cited for missing games in Gaelic games and Australian rules,


The make up  of our muscles hasn’t changed nor has the healing process. What has changed is our knowledge and ability to facilitate recovery, identify and reduce risk factors and the importance we place on pre season conditioning.

We know that the location of the hamstring tear can determine the average time out of sport, with a tear in the upper hamstrings at the musculo-tendo junction requiring more time away from competition than a a tear in the belly of the hamstring. We better understand the relationships between both flexibility and strength of the hamstrings and the risk to injury. We also understand how best to facilitate increases in flexibility and strength of the injured hamstring.

We know that the majority of hamstring inuries occur in the stretch-contract cycle of the game i.e. during kicking or accelerating / decelerating. During this stage the hamstring is working eccentrically.We know therefore that eccentric strengthening of the hamstrings should play an important part in pre season conditioning and rehabilitation post injury. We also know that hamstring injuries occur more in the final quarter of games and training suggesting that strength and flexibility conditioning of the hamstrings should help reduce injury.Gaelic Football, Sprinting with Ball

We also know there are multiple factors hypothesised to contribute to the risk of hamstring injury. These include inadequate warm-up, fatigue, previous injury, knee muscle weakness or strength imbalance, increasing age, poor movement discrimination, poor flexibility, increased lumbar lordosis and poor running technique. We hope that by addressing these and others with each individual we can help reduce the risk of injury.

Recent research suggests that strengthening the hamstrings pre season and especially post injury plays an important part in the reduction of injury. Currently the most efficient form of hamstring strengthening is thought to be eccentric exercises. Eccentric training should be prescribed by a physiotherapist or suitably qualified member of the team’s medical team and is worlds removed from simply sitting in the gym preforming hamstring curls (the only function of which may be to tighten your hamstrings.) One form of eccentric training used is the nordic hamstring raise.

Our understanding of the predisposing factors to hamstring injuries and what constitutes best treatment practice continues to evolve. The challenge as with all injuries is to keep up to date with current research and best practice, hopefully reducing the occurrence of injury and the length of rehabilitation time.



New Sports Massage Therapist

We are delighted to announce that Lynne Taylor from Global Therapies is our new Sports Massage Therapist at JUMP Physio. We met Lynne and her partner Tim Budd (another great sports massage therapist) just over a year ago and were very impressed with both their work and the feedback from clients.

When we realised JUMP Physio were moving at to a larger clinic the first thing we did was ask Lynne and Tim whether they’d be available to do some work with us. We’re delighted Lynne is starting with us and look forward to working with her in the clinic and maybe availing of the proximity of a great sports masseuse ourselves every so often. Lynne will initially be working with us on Thursday afternoons and appointments can be booked in the usual way of either e-mailing us on or calling us on 0161 832 3334.

Below is a brief bio on Lynne.

As a massage therapist Lynne brings together her love of sports with her knowledge and experience of sports injuries to help improve the quality of life for her patients. She gained her qualification- Level 5 Sports and Remedial Massage Therapy at the NLSSM, and has been actively practicing and treating clients since 2009.

Away from work, Lynne’s main focus is running, particularly fell running, She is an active member of Glossopdale Harriers and has a number of fell races planned in 2012. She also regularly cycles, climbs (indoors and on grit) and swims. In the past she has been involved with caving, paragliding and scuba diving.

As evidence of Lynne’s ability and excellence as a sports masseuse Lynne has been accepted as a sports masseuse at the London 2012 Olympics providing Sports & Remedial Massage Therapy for the athletes. 



New Physiotherapy and Pilates Clinic

Please forgive this non clinical blog.

After 3 years in our old clinic and 6 months of telling everybody we were moving, we at JUMP Physiotherapy have finally moved to a bigger space. No new maps are needed, no change of address required and no new telephone number. We are still situated in the same building on the same floor just in the office next door.

Why have we moved? When you see our new bigger clinic it’ll all become obvious. We  now have available a separate Pilates studio, Physiotherapy clinic and Sports Therapy room. The new Pilates studio means we’ve been able to offer more Pilates classes (see our class timetable) as well as add to our Pilates large equipment. We now have a Pilates reformer and tower of power, a Combo chair as well as a Pilates Arc on top of all our small equipment. The Pilates studio also doubles as a Rehabilitation area for our Physiotherapy clients. So we now have an even bigger gym area for post surgery rehabilitation and physiotherapy.

We hope to be able to announce shortly a Sports Therapist and Masseuse joining our team who’ll be available for regular weekly appointments. Kieran O’ Donovan continues as our clinic’s Lead Physiotherapist, Naomi Gill continues as our Womens’ Health Physiotherapist and Andy Bond continues as our Pilates Instructor as normal. To coincide moving to a bigger Physiotherapy clinic we also launched our new website recently (JUMP Physio). Please let us know what you think. You can now follow us on Twitter @jumpphysio and @jumppilates . For those of you who don’t tweet.. we now have a newsletter you can subscribe to. Our monthly newsletter will contain updates on any new classes, special offers (yes they will be special) as well as providing, tips from our  Pilates, Physiotherapy and Sports Therapy teams. We don’t send spam or use existing e-mail addresses to contact you about changes and offers at our clinic so this will be our way of letting you decide how much information you’d like from us.


Of course all of these changes are done to enhance the experience of everyone attending JUMP Physio whether it is for Physiotherapy, Pilates or Sports Therapy so please let us know what you think of the space and of your experience here. Suggestions on how to improve are always taken on board.


JUMP Physio



What are overuse injuries?

With the London marathon and Manchester 10km now begining to loom on the horizon we have seen the  familiar increase in overuse type injuries  here at JUMP Physio. These have been especially in but not limited to to the running population. The inevitable question always arises. What causes over use injuries? Well, without stating the obvious it is usually a combination of factors such as the training load, the biomechanics of the movement and physiological state of the tissue.   Needless to say here at JUMP Physio we don’t see athletes with excellent biomechanics, normal tissue and subjected to appropriate training load  presenting themselves in the clinic. We do however see a whole bunch of frustrated people of all abilities presenting with one or more of the above  contributory factors. Such as the runner who has gradually being building up their mileage with appropriate recovery periods, developing shin splints, anterior knee pain, achilles tendinopathy or ITB problems due to altered mechanics caused by tight calves or weak glutes.  We also see people with optimal mechanics, present with similar injuries because of inappropriate loading or lack of recovery between runs.

Every time you exercise your tissues are loaded causing physiological change and structural adaptation. In running or with any other  training stimulus this can lead to muscle hypertrophy, thickening of bones, enhancement of neural pathway’s, the strengthening of tendons. These changes take time however and before all these positive adaptations occur the short term effects of training are that tissues fatigue and become less resilient to load. Continuing to apply load to these tissues increases the risks  associated with tissue break down and injury.

Management of these injuries therefore focuses on addressing the relevant biomechanical faults, identifyng the state of the underlying tissue and prescribing a suitable load and recovery plan. Of course it also helps if you understand what has caused the injury so it doesn’t happen again.

The run at Clearwater

If you feel like you may have over done the training or can’t figure out why your body hurts so much after an easy run give us a call at JUMP Physio to see if we can help.

Jemma Oliver Sports Physiotherapist

We are delighted that Jemma Oliver Sports Physiotherapist will shortly be joining our team at JUMP Physio. Having trained in Sports Science in Leeds and graduating as a Physiotherapist from Sheffield in 2007, Jemma has spent the last few years working privately in the sports rehabilitation and sports injury settings. She enjoys all aspects of musculoskeletal Physiotherapy however her specialist interest is in sports injuries and lower limb biomechanics. Jemma is near completion of an MSc in Sport Injury Management.

Jemma’s work in sport makes an impressive CV  to date and includes working with various squads and sports including the Sheffield United Football Academy, Sheffield Hockey Club, the U21 Wales Hockey Squad and more recently work with the GB Bobsleigh and the GB Womens Volleyball team in their run up to the 2012 Olympics.

Jemma describes herself as a friendly and passionate individual with an aim to try and help empower individuals to become more self aware of their own bodies and lifestyle in order to rehabilitate from injury, improve their sport performance or increase their own quality of life through healthy living and exercise.

A full list of the services Jemma will be offering at JUMP Physio will be available shortly on our web site . In the meantime if you have any questions about sports injuries or rehabilitation you can ask Jemma at

Running injury Free

Whether you just run to stay fit or you’ve just signed up for one of the big races like the Manchester great run in May or the London Marathon there is nothing more annoying than having your training interrupted by injury  and enforced rest. Knowing a little bit about how to train and what signs to look out for can save you months of discomfort.

The majority of running injuries are caused by overloading to the joints and muscles. Here is a brief list of injury prevention tips to help you run injury free.

1)      The 10% rule. Try not to increase your distance more than 10% per week. Your heart and lungs adjust to stress quicker than the joints so even if you feel ok increase your distances slowly.

2)      Ice aches and pains as soon as you get back. When you do injure yourself the majority of the discomfort is caused by swelling. Minimise the swelling and speed your recovery  by icing immediately for 20 minutes

3)      There is currently lots of debate on the optimal amount of support a runner should have for their feet as they run. We don’t have time to expand the argument for and against but the simple advice is if you are new to running or increasing your distances  it is a good idea to invest in actual running shoes from a specialist running shop and replace them as the support decreases. Running in unsuitable trainers places unnecessary load on your ankles knees and hips if you are not used to running.

4)      Mix-up your training plan. No matter what level of runner you are, running the same route at the same pace every night will not make you any faster or fitter after your initial improvement. Repetition will however give you sore joints and muscles. Your training should include long runs and short runs, slow runs and faster runs.

5)    Perform a good stretching programme before and after exercise.

6)    If your pain is not going away don’t try to run through it consult a sports physiotherapist.

If you have any questions on running injuries feel free to e-mail me for some advice on

Barefoot Running

I’ve noticed in the physiotherapy clinic that barefoot running and its reported benefits is getting a lot of press again recently in main stream media.  The proponents of bare foot running argue that present day running trainers with their inbuilt supports significantly alter the mechanics of how you run thereby increasing the risk of injury. Trainers  which rely heavily on support and comfort as their selling point are argued to facilitate running  with a heal strike while the more natural way to run is on the balls of your foot. Test this out by running in your bare feet the next time you are in the garden, do you land on your heal or stay on the balls of your feet. They make the point that the heal or calcaneus being mostly bone has no capacity for shock absorption and so transmits all the forces of running further up into your knees, hips and lower back. Running on the ball of your foot however takes advantage of the foot’s mechanics designed for shock absorption and the full capacity of the Achilles Tendon to transmit and absorb shock.

All of this argument makes perfect sense to me but a word of caution before you discard the trainers for barefoot running. The intrinsic muscles of the foot work to provide support and shape to the foot, when too much strain is placed through these muscles too quickly we can develop mechanical foot problems such as shin splints and plantar fasciitis. This is a common problem during the summer months when people limp into our physiotherapy clinic after switching from shoes in the office to flip flops at the beach for two weeks. The problem lies in the fact that as a generation we have become used to wearing shoes/ trainers which provide support and our intrinsic muscles have in effect become de-conditioned. As a means of decreasing injuries and increasing the strength of the intrinsic muscles in your feet starting with some barefoot running drills is a great idea but you need to gradually introduce your feet to the concept.

Clients often ask what the best pair of trainers are for their feet. In the absence of any structural problems the answer is the next pair you buy. Wearing the same trainers continuously can result in your feet becoming accustomed to the type of support provided by your trainer and result in a de-conditioning of the intrinsic muscles in your feet. By purchasing different brands or models or having two pairs that you switch between prevents the same load and pressure being placed through your feet repeatedly and challenges the intrinsic muscles by providing different levels of support and preventing de-conditioning.

On a personal note I haven’t yet tested the Nike Frees (which promise to strength train feet by imitating barefoot movement” or the Vibram Fivefingers which have been coined “gloves for your feet” but I am starting to decrease the amount of support and cushioning I now look for in my trainers..