Hamstring Injury and Hamstring Strain Care
A hamstring injury is common among athletes, runners, and even those who play sports casually. This makes it important to understand proper hamstring strain care. People typically injure the hamstring with short bursts of movement, such as during a sprint or jump squat. It can take up to several months to heal without proper care.
Hamstring Injuries and Strain Care
What is the hamstring?
The hamstring consists of three muscles: the semitendinosus, semimembranosus and biceps femoris. The three muscles join at the joints by strong, connective tissues called tendons. The hamstring as a whole starts at the base of the pelvis and stretches along the back of the thigh to the knee joint, ending at the top of the lower leg.
What is a hamstring strain?
A hamstring strain is under the classification as a pull, partial tear or a complete tear. It ranges in severity and is graded by number. A grade 1 strain is a pulling or stretching of the muscle or tendon fibers. Although there is no significant tearing, a grade 1 strain can still be very painful and take a long time to heal
A grade 2 strain is a little more concerning, possibly altering the ability to walk and bend the knee against resistance. It will require four to eight weeks of healing time. A grade 3 strain is a severe injury that results in the tear of the muscle. This type of strain will take a few months to fully heal. Severe pain, weakness, bruising and swelling in the muscle are common with a grade 3 strain.
What are the symptoms of a hamstring strain?
Hamstring strains occur suddenly. Sufferers may notice sharp, severe pain accompanied by a popping feeling or sound. The back of the thigh will hurt when walking or bending and straightening the leg. The lower buttock may also experience pain. Tenderness, swelling and bruising are other common symptoms.
Risk factors for hamstring strains are muscle tightness, not warming up properly before a workout, muscle imbalances, muscle fatigue, improper conditioning, being a geriatric or adolescent athlete and participating in sports that require a significant amount of running or jumping.
What is the best option for hamstring strain care?
The first action in caring for an injured hamstring is to follow the RICE protocol— rest, ice, compression and elevation. The injured person should immediately take a break from activity. He or she should ice the injury for 20 minutes at a time multiple times during the day. Adding compression to the injured site will prevent some swelling. Elevating the injured leg will also help reduce swelling.
At your doctors visit, an examination will be performed. In addition, imaging such as an ultrasound may also be performed to determine the extent of the injury. For most hamstring strains physical therapy will be recommended. If therapy is successful, a gradual reintroduction into activity will restore the right range of motion and build strength in the recovering muscle to reduce the likelihood of further injury. If conservative treatment fails, other treatments such as Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), Stem Cell therapy and/or High Dose Laser Therapy may be recommended to help aid in recovery.
Schedule an appointment
If you think you have injured your hamstring, you should have an examination performed as soon as possible to learn the extent of the injury. After scheduling an appointment with Apex Sports and Regenerative Medicine, visiting and getting a diagnosis, you will receive proper hamstring strain care recommendations for the best outcome. Call us at (732) 385-2739