This article is part of our Injury Analysis series.
The Carolina running back will miss time after suffering a strained hamstring in the team's Thursday night win over the Texans. Hamstring strains are one of most frequently reported injuries in professional sports. Anyone who has played fantasy sports is aware of the headache that accompany these injuries and their associated recovery process. Let's take a look at how and why hamstring strains are so problematic.
To start, the hamstring is a muscle group made up of three separate muscles, not an isolated, individual muscle. The hamstring muscles run from the pelvis to knee, making them a two-joint muscle. As a result, they are involved in both hip and knee movement, specifically hip extension and knee flexion. The hamstrings are particularly active when walking or running, working against the quadriceps to accelerate and decelerate the leg when performing these motions. Unfortunately, these demands make the hamstring susceptible to injury, especially in a start-and-stop sport like football.
Once a strain has occurred, a delicate healing process begins. The initial inflammatory response includes natural clotting and is marked by swelling. While the inflammatory phase continues, true repairing of the damage begins in a phase known as the proliferative phase. During this stage, specialized cells repair the area where the soft tissue failed. Protein fibers, including collagen and elastin, serve as the spackle, filling the gaps that developed when the strain occurred. Proliferation occurs even in a low-grade strain. Over time the "spackle" develops into true scar tissue. The scar tissue