This Month in Sports Rehabilitation: Tips to Prevent Hamstring Injuries (June 2013)

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The bruising on the left leg is consistent with a severe hamstring injury.Mild to moderate hamstring strains are very common in football, soccer, rugby and other sprinting sports. More severe hamstring injuries typically result from a sudden and forceful movement with bending forward at the hip while simultaneously straightening the knee, like you might experience when water skiing.


This movement creates a sudden lengthening of the hamstrings, which are often contracting simultaneously to counteract the motion. The result is that the hamstring tendons can be pulled off the bone or rupture at the connection to the muscle, called the myotendinous junction. This injury will usually result in immediate severe pain, inability to walk normally, significant swelling later that day and significant bruising a few days later.


Recovery from a hamstring injury may involve physical therapy without surgery, or it may involve physical therapy following surgery if surgery is needed. In either case early and accurate diagnosis is paramount to a successful outcome. UW Health Sports Rehabilitation is a national leader in treating hamstring injuries, with published papers and post-operative guidelines utilized by health care providers around the world. If you suspect a hamstring injury please contact us to help you in your rehabilitation and recovery.


Tips to Prevent Hamstring Injuries While Water Skiing


Here are some tips for preventing hamstring injuries while water skiing:

  1. Make sure the boots or bindings are not too tight so that your foot is allowed to dislodge from the skis if you fall or go under water on the start when you're pulled forward.
  2. Use an experienced boat driver.
  3. If you have not skied for some time, start back with the basics to build up your technique by possibly starting with a boom. Or if you are a slalom skier, start with 2 skis for the start.
  4. Make sure your muscles are warm before skiing. You can do some swimming, deep water running or deep water scissor kicks. Some land based agility and running to warm up also are recommended. Even some activity in a stationary boat with light stretching, single leg squats or hops may be helpful. Ideally you would break a sweat to have the muscles warmed up adequately.
  5. Do not ski after alcohol consumption since this affects your balance and muscle control.

Publications from UW Health Sports Rehabilitation


Chakravarthy J, Ramisetty N, Pimpalnerkar A, Mohtadi N. Surgical repair of complete proximal hamstring tendon ruptures in water skiers and bull riders: a report of four cases and review of the literature. Br J Sports Med. Aug 2005;39(8):569-572


Sallay PI, Friedman RL, Coogan PG, Garrett WE. Hamstring muscle injuries among water skiers. Functional outcome and prevention. Am J Sports Med. Mar-Apr 1996;24(2):130-136


Sherry MA, Best TM. A comparison of 2 rehabilitation programs in the treatment of acute hamstring strains. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. Mar 2004;34(3):116-125