But what is a hamstring actually? It isn’t actually a single ”string.” It’s a group of three muscles that run along the back of your thigh that allow you to bend your leg at the knee and extend your hip. Usually, you see athletes who suffer from hamstring injuries from accelerating too quickly or cutting (changing directions) on the court, field, or ice too quickly. However, this can happen to anybody. You’re likely to get a hamstring strain during activities that involve a lot of running and jumping or sudden stopping and starting which causes the hamstring muscles to overload. A “pulled” hamstring is actually a hamstring strain. This refers to an excessive stretch or tearing of the muscle fibers. Most occurrences happen in the central part of the muscle. Considering how there is such a high recurrence rate of hamstring strains, the big question is, “what can I do to prevent these injuries from recurring or even happening in the first place?” Risk Factors:
- Muscle tightness
- Muscle imbalance
- Poor conditioning
- Muscle fatigue
- Choice of activity
Tips to avoid hamstring strain:
- Warm up thoroughly before participating in any exercise and cool down right after
- Incorporate a flexibility program before and after each training session
- Strengthen the muscles by performing concentric and eccentric strengthening exercises
The hamstring muscles are found at the back of the thigh one towards the inside/one toward the outside but both are attached to the butt bone (ischial tuberosity). are 3 muscles that make up the hamstring. These include the semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and biceps femoris
Symptoms of an acute hamstring injury:
- a sudden, sharp pain in the back of your thigh during exercise, along with a snapping or popping feeling
- Possible “popping” or tearing sensation.
- Swelling and tenderness usually develop within a few hours.
- You may also experience bruising or discoloration along the back of your leg, as well as muscle weakness or an inability to put weight on your injured leg.
- Pain in the back of the thigh and lower buttock when walking, straightening the leg, or bending over
How is it treated?
Treatment will vary on the type of injury you have, its severity, and your needs and expectation. However, the goal of any treatment is to help return to normal daily life activities and improve quality of life.
When it comes to preventing a hamstring injury or repeated injury, not overdoing things or pushing yourself is the key. If you participate in sports where hamstring injuries can be more common, flexibility and strengthening exercises mentioned above allows you to reduce your risk of an injury. Contact us so that a physical therapist can develop the optimal training program specifically for you.