Introduction to Hamstring Injury
The hamstrings are the muscle on the back of the thigh that help to bend the knee and extend the hip. An injury to this muscle or the tendons is also referred to as a tear, pulled or strained muscle.
What is a Hamstring Injury?
Your hamstrings are the muscle on the back of your thigh that help to bend the knee and extend the hip. An injury to this muscle or the tendons that hold the muscle in place is also referred to as a tear, pulled or strained muscle. A hamstring injury is very common, particularly in those who play a lot of sport. A hamstring injury can be divided in three grades based on the severity of the injury. A minor strain is a grade 1 injury, and this may only take a few days to heal, whereas a severe tear, grade 3, may take several months to heal.
What causes a Hamstring Injury?
A hamstring injury occurs when the tendons or muscles are stretched too far. They will either be strained, partially or completely torn off. The hamstrings are mostly active during movements that require the knee to be bent, for instance during running and jumping. Most hamstring injuries occur after sudden movement like sprinting or lunging, hence hamstring injuries are common in sports players.
What are the symptoms of a Hamstring Injury?
Hamstring injuries usually cause sudden pain in the back of the thigh, you may also find that it is very painful to walk. There may also be bruising and swelling at the back of the thigh and sometimes the strength of the muscle is weakened. For the most severe injuries, you often feel a snapping sensation in the thigh from where the muscle has been completely torn off and you will not be able to you use leg.
How is a Hamstring Injury treated?
Initial treatment of a hamstring injury involves resting and reducing pain and inflammation. You should avoid moving your leg as much as possible and keep it elevated, you may need to use crutches to get around. For inflammation you can apply an ice pack to the area and use compression bandages or stockings, which are available from a pharmacy. Pain killers and anti-inflammatories such as paracetamol or ibuprofen will help to relive the pain and reduce swelling. Most injuries heal by themselves in a few weeks and once recovered regular stretching of the muscle and ensuring that you are warmed up before exercising will help to reduce the risk of a future hamstring injury. A specialist Sports and Exercise doctor will be able to advise you further on hamstring injuries and answer any questions you may have.