Everything You Need to Know About Hamstring Injuries

Everything You Need to Know About Hamstring Injuries

Hamstring Injuries

Hamstring InjuriesFirstly, what are hamstrings?
These are the tendons that are seen behind the thighs that connect the thigh muscles to the bone. This term is also used to denote the group of three muscles that run across the back of the thighs, from the hip to just under the knee.
What are the functions of these hamstrings?
These muscles are not utilized much while you are standing and walking. But, they will be very active during any activity that involves bending the knee. For example, running, climbing, or jumping.
Now, let’s learn everything about hamstring injuries and how to deal with them here:

What are Hamstring Injuries?

Hamstring injuries simply refer to the strain or tear to those tendons or muscles that are seen at the back of your thigh. These injuries are very common among athletes and occur in three different grades of severities. They are:

  • Grade 1: This is a mild muscle pull or a strain
  • Grade 2: This is a partial muscle tear
  • Grade 3: This is a complete muscle tear

Given the functionality of the hamstring muscles, it’s quite obvious that the grade 3 injuries are very common in the athletically active individuals.

The time of recovery from a hamstring injury will depend on the severity. A minor injury, such as a mild muscle pull or a strain will take only a few days to heal. On the other hand, grade 2 or grade 3 injuries may take several to months to recover.[1]

Hamstring Injuries Diagnosis


What are the Causes of Hamstring Injuries?

Hamstring injuries will occur if any of the tendons or muscles is stretched beyond its limit. Most often, they will occur during sudden, fiery movements like jumping, lunging, and so on. However, they can also during slower movements where your hamstring is overstretched.

Recurring hamstring injuries can be commonly seen in sportsmen and athletes, as a hamstring injury is more likely to occur if it has been injured before.[2]

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Hamstring Injuries?

There will be differences in the signs and symptoms of hamstring injuries depending on the severity of the injury. As such, a mild strain (as in Grade 1) will cause sudden pain accompanied by tenderness at the back of your thigh. It can be painful to move the leg, yet the power of the muscle will not be affected.

A partial hamstring tear (as in Grade 2) will cause severe pain and tenderness. In addition, there can be some amount of swelling and bruising at the back of the thigh and you might have lost some amount of the muscle strength in your leg.

A several hamstring tear (as in Grade 3) will be very painful. It will also cause tenderness, swelling, and bruising. Besides this, they may a popping sensation during the time of injury and you may not be able to move the affected leg.

On examining the individual with a hamstring injury will reveal spasms, tenderness, and tightness.[3]

When to See a Doctor and What Specialties of Doctors Treat These Injuries?

According to health experts, most hamstring injuries can be treated at home by following the below tips. However, you must consider visiting a doctor if you have any concerns about it, especially if you feel the injury is severe. You should also check with a doctor if you see that the injury is not healing and symptoms are worsening.

In most cases, your primary care physicians like general medicine doctors, family care physicians, and internists can provide treatment for hamstring injuries. If the severity of the injury is higher, then who can visit specialists like orthopedic surgeons and physiatrists. When it comes to ancillary caregiving, physical therapists and massage therapists are most preferable for hamstring injuries.

Your doctor will be the best person to advise you about when you can go back to your regular activities and what physical exercises you should do to help your recovery.

What’s Involved in the Diagnosis of Hamstring Injuries?

As it sounds obvious, a hamstring injury can be identified by the rapid onset of severe pain at the back of the mid-thigh during any of the activities that involve the hamstring. In the case of an athlete, he/she will get instant pain at the back of the thigh, thereby, being not able to walk. Most often, there will be focal tenderness at the sight of pain, which will be aggravated by stretching it. The imaging tests will not be necessary for a majority of patients. However, the imaging tests, such as MRI, CT, and ultrasound can give deep insights into the muscles, tendons, and bones that are involved in the injury.

Can You Deal With a Hamstring Injury on Your Own?

As mentioned earlier, most cases of hamstring injuries can be easily dealt on your own. For effective healing, you are advised to follow the RICE therapy that is explained below during the first two or three days of injury:[4]

  • Rest: Maintain the affected leg as stationary as possible and avoid physical activities. Your doctor may suggest using some crutches in case of severe injuries.
  • Ice: Try to apply cold packs to the affected region for up to twenty minutes every two or three hours. Note: You shouldn’t use ice directly on your skin.
  • Compression: Compress the thigh using a compression wrap brace in order to restrict any swelling and movement, which are known to cause further damage. You can buy a high-quality hamstring compression wrap brace here.
  • Elevation: Keep the affected leg elevated and supported using a pillow as much as you can, to help reduce the swelling.
Hamstring Injuries Recovery

In addition to these, you can take regular painkillers like paracetamol and NSAID cream to help alleviate the pain. You can even take oral NSAIDs like ibuprofen for a short duration to reduce swelling and inflammation.

Avoiding exercises for a long time due to the injury are not advisable. At the same time, returning to strenuous activities too quickly will worsen the injury. Therefore, you are advised to start with gentle hamstring stretches as soon as the pain starts to subside.











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