Chris Judd’s Hamstring Strain – “Not A Lack Of Conditioning” – Or Was It?

Chris Judd’s Hamstring Strain – “Not A Lack Of Conditioning” – Or Was It? - Leading Edge Physiotherapy

It was a comeback that all Carlton fans were hoping would lift the fledgling side from a shocking start to their 2014 campaign.

Two times Brownlow meddalist Chris Judd was making his return to football after having surgery to his Achilles Tendon only in mid February.

Then, six minutes into his comeback match, having amassed three possessions in a matter of seconds, Judd strained his hamstring.  And not just a tweak of his hamstring, but a high grade hamstring strain that early reports suggest could take up to six weeks to get over.


The questions were being asked before the end of the match?  How could someone who had surgery to their Achilles in February be fit to play only about 10 weeks later?

The first month or so after his surgery Judd was in a “moon boot” – a device used to immobilise his ankle after the surgery to allow the area to settle and heal.

This period would have resulted in a massive amount of deconditioning of his body to withstand high level football.

Carlton insist that Judd was doing adequate “cross-training” in this period, and Judd has even been quoted after his injury saying, “I was really well conditioned… there was no issues with conditioning.”


Well, if Judd had no issues with conditioning, why did his hamstring rip in half the first time he had contact with another player. Watch the video below and you will see that once Judd gets his third possession off, he is pushed as he kicks.

This is a common mechanism for hamstring strains – when the body is flexed forward, over-stretching the hamstring from the hip whilst at full speed.  So it’s just bad luck then – right?

Judd said, “You look at the GPS data, that speed that I was pushed at was twice as quick as anyone else moved for the night.  So it’s pretty simple mathematics: your body can’t tolerate that and there was a bit of a pop“.


Hamstring Strain

What Judd is referring to is that the acceleration his body underwent with the push was greater than anyone else ran on the night – but he wasn’t the only one pushed or shoved in the match – he didn’t compare his acceleration in this push to the ones other players received and easily withstood.

The fact is, Judd obviously had not had enough training prior to playing to condition his body to football-specific movement patterns. 

Sure, he had got up to running really well, but he hadn’t trained enough – in fact he even admitted so after the match: “I hadn’t done a lot of skills training with the team but had done a heap of running and a heap of leg strength work so there was no issues with conditioning“.  Well maybe there was Chris.

Anyone who has dealt with Achilles surgery, or any other ankle surgery requiring immobilisation in a “moon boot” knows, it takes weeks and weeks to get back to playing football at a high standard.

In this case, it seems Carlton, looking for an answer to their early season form slump and to relieve the pressure mounting on coach Mick Malthouse, may have thrown the baby out with the bath water allowing Judd to play before he was ready.


Soft tissue injuries after coming back from a long-term injury are a common occurrence.  The key to preventing probably the most frustrating injury in sport is simply taking the time to ensure your body is up to playing before putting your hand up for selection.

We like to see at least two to three weeks of full training prior to playing after a long term (6 week plus) injury.  This allows the body to encounter the types of challenges Judd was presented with at training so that the body can adapt to the training and become more resilient so that when the challenge is presented in a game, they are more likely to cope.

If you’ve had a long term injury and need advice on returning to sport – how to structure your rehab to help prevent soft tissue injuries and how to plan your end-stage training – then BOOK ONLINE and make an appointment with one of our sports physiotherapists.