A Guide To Hamstring Injuries

Some parts of the body are more prone to injury than others, unfortunately one of those is the hamstring. Just like every type of injury to tissue in the body the more pressure it’s under the more likely there will be damage.

The hamstring muscles are located on the back of your upper leg and attach the lower part of your pelvis down to the back of your knee with the main function of flexing your knee and extending your hip.

A hamstring injury is a strain or tear to the tendons or large muscles on the back of your upper leg and there are three grades of hamstring injury:

  • Grade 1 – A mild muscle strain or pull
  • Grade 2 – A partial muscle tear
  • Grade 3 – A complete muscle tear

A hamstring injury can occur if any of the tendons or muscle has been stretched beyond their limit, this can often occur during sudden, explosive movements such as sprinting or lunging.

An injury can also occur more gradually during slower movements that over stretch your hamstring, it is not uncommon that hamstring injuries will reoccur.

There are two main types of hamstring injuries which people sustain, the first being a hamstring strain and the second a hamstring tendonitis.

Hamstring Strain

A hamstring strain will occur when the muscle becomes damaged or inflamed dur to excessive strain or force being placed on the muscle.

The most common cause of hamstring is through overuse; however, it can also occur suddenly if the muscle becomes stretched further than its ability.

Athletes who suffer hamstring strains will feel pain in the back of their thigh, caused by the muscle becoming inflamed and swollen and will gradually become more apparent through continued activity.

If the injury is caused by sudden pressure or force to the tendon, the pain will usually be instantly felt.

In order to treat a hamstring strain rest is crucial to allow the injury to heal and avoiding any further activity which could cause damage or discomfort to the injury is recommended.

Following the entire PRICE protocol is recommended and is extremely beneficial for treating the injury in the first 72 hours.

Taping and strapping techniques will often be used for hamstring injuries as they can stabilise and support the area whilst relieving pressure.

It is important to undergo a rehabilitation program, such as strengthening and stretching exercises which will keep the area strong and make it easier to return to sport once the injury has healed.

Summary

Causes

  • Sudden large force or pressure to the hamstring
  • Overuse injury common in running and jumping activities
  • Excessive speed changing whilst running
  • Insufficient warm up exercise
  • Poor core strength

Symptoms

  • Sudden sharp pain or pulling sensation at back of the thigh at point of injury
  • For minor strains pain may be more noticeable at cool down
  • Aching and stiffness
  • Swelling and inflammation

Treatment

  • RICE method
  • Taping and strapping techniques
  • Physiotherapy
  • Anti-inflammatory medication

Hamstring Tendonitis

Hamstring tendonitis is an injury that occurs when the tendon becomes damaged or inflamed due to excessive strain or force being placed on the tendon.

The hamstring tendon is soft tissue which connects the hamstring muscle to the outer aspect of the knee.

You can read our full guide on hamstring tendonitis.

Summary

Causes

  • Overuse injury common in running and jumping activities
  • Excessive speed changing whilst running
  • Insufficient warm up exercise
  • Poor core strength

Symptoms

  • Pain at the back of the knee and thigh which increases over time
  • Pain when resuming activity
  • Swelling and inflammation
  • Aching and stiffness after activity

Treatment

  • RICE method
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Taping and strapping techniques
  • Physiotherapy
  • Steroid injection

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