Daily Medicos

Hamstring Injury

Overview

A hamstring injury appears when you strain or pull any of the hamstring muscles. Hamstring muscles are a group of three muscles that are present at the back of your thigh. Athletes or any person who plays soccer, basketball, football, tennis, squash, or any sport which requires sudden stop and start activity and movement are more likely to develop hamstring injury. Runners and dancers might develop this injury.  Scroll down to know how hamstring pain feels and which type of medics are used to reduce pain. 

This muscle-pulled injury mainly refers to three main muscles of the body that are:

  1. Bicep femoris
  2. Semimembranosus
  3. Semitendinosus 

Pulled hamstring injuries occur in two main types, i.e., SPRINTING and STRETCHING. Most commonly, sprinting occurs in the muscle bicep femoris, which causes tear injuries. And stretching injuries occur in semimembranosus muscles. 

What are the symptoms of hamstring injury?

Mild strains do not pain much and show no symptoms, but severe injuries cause severe pain symptoms that make the person unable to stand. A person with hamstring injury typically experiences:

  • Sharp pain triggers in the back of the thigh, suddenly. 
  • Popping and tearing sensation in the leg. 
  • Swelling and tenderness within a few hours.
  • Bruising or discoloration at the back of the thigh and leg. 
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Unable to put on weight on the affected leg.

Causes of hamstring injury

The three hamstring muscles make your leg possible to extend straight behind your body. It also helps the knee to bend. When any one of these muscles stretches against the limit during any sport or physical activity, it results in hamstring injury.

Credit to freepik.com

Risk factors

There are certain risk factors that cause hamstring injury:

  • Sports and activities which require sprinting or running, dancing, or extreme stretching, make a hamstring injury more possible.
  • If anyone had a history of one hamstring injury, they are more likely to have another. 
  • If anybody resumes all the activities and sports at a pre-injury level of intensity before your muscles heal and rebuild strength, they are more likely to develop another or make the previous worse.
  • If a person has poor elasticity, their muscles cannot bear the full force of the stretching or flexion needed during a certain activity and can cause injury.
  • A muscle imbalance also leads to a hamstring injury. When the quadriceps (muscle along the front of the thigh) become stronger and developed than hamstring muscles, it is also more likely to injure the hamstring muscle. 

Some other possible factors because of which hamstring injury happens are

  • Age 
  • Decreased flexibility in hamstring muscles
  • Decreased strength in hamstring muscles
  • No or poor warm-up before activity 
  • History of hamstring injury or any other muscle injury
  • Tension in nerves

How can it be treated?

The first and initial goal of treatment is to reduce the pain and swelling. To fulfill this goal, the doctor may recommend the following:

  • Take a break from such activities to heal the injury fully.
  • Use crutches or a cane to avoid pushing full weight on the affected leg.
  • Do icing several times a day to relieve pain and reduce swelling.
  • Compress the injured area with a bandage or wear compression shorts to reduce pain and swelling. 
  • Lift the leg elevated above the level of the heart. It improves drainage, circulation and minimizes swelling.
  • Take pain-relief medicines, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, or others to reduce inflammation. 

1. Physical therapy

Another effective option is physiotherapy or rehabilitation centers. After reducing pain and swelling of the hamstring injury, the doctor refers to a physical therapist who will tell how to perform specific exercises to improve the elasticity, flexibility, and strength of the hamstring muscles.

Credit to: Freepik.com

2. Surgery

If one of the hamstring muscles has pulled free from where it’s attached to the pelvis or bone, orthopedic surgeons can reattach it. Severe muscle tears can be repaired through surgery. 

3. Exercises 

People with hamstring injury are referred to as multiple exercises that may help in fast recovery and work effectively with the surgery. 

The most common recommended exercise is stretching the pulled muscles so they can come to their place. Sudden stretching can cause harm, but slow movements help in relieving the pain. Other scheduled exercises include sessions of

  • Cycling 
  • Climbing stairs
  • Walking 
  • Jogging
  • Muscle-strengthening exercises
  • Hamstring dig or set
  • Hamstring curl
  • Hamstring wall stretching 
  • Hip extensions
  • Calf stretching
  • Single leg balancing
Credit to: Freepik.com

As mentioned, all exercises relieve pain and help place muscle back to its position. These exercises reduce the chance of getting a hamstring injury in the future. 

Some professional exercises for hamstring injuries which need full training and awareness and also a trainer who can position you or tell you the exact pose and also the pros and cons of the exercise before you start are:

  • Arabesques. Also known as single leg stiff deadlifts.
  • Gliders 
  • Nordic hamstring 1
  • Nordic hamstring 2
  • Long lever bridges 

Some other positions that can help you relieve the pain and help muscle come to their place and can also prevent hamstring injury in the future are:

  • To keep the lumbar spine mobile or in movement
  • Keeping the glutes flexible
  • Keep the nerves gliding smoothly. Don’t ever move suddenly.

Bottom line

Hamstring injuries, either sprinting or stretching, are prevalent and occur with all sorts of people, including athletes or normal people, starters for gym or professional athletes. It can only be prevented with common measures like warming-up before physical activity or gradually boosting your activity and not causing stress to the muscles. Because stressing or overloading can also cause either a mild injury or severe tear in muscles.

 FAQs

Q 1. Which type of pain does a hamstring injury feel like?

Ans. the hamstring injury if is mild stretching or sprinting then does not pain. If it gets severe or severe sprain occurs, then it feels the severe and sudden onset of pain. Pain starts in the back of the thigh and buttocks. The affected person will feel pain while bending the knee or straightening the leg. 

Q 2. What are the sudden treatments for hamstring pain?

Ans. If the hospital is far or it takes time to reach time some tips might help in decreasing the pain which are:

  • Compressing the leg
  • Icing the thigh or leg
  • Resting the leg 
  • Elevating the leg 
  • Take painkiller 
  • Start exercise but slowly and gradually move the leg.

Q 3. What is the recovery rate?

Ans. The recovery of injury depends on how badly the muscle is torn or injured. Recovery time depends on the effective working; if surgery is done, then recovery from surgery and physical therapy and exercises also improve the recovery.

Q 4. How can you prevent this injury?

Ans. A hamstring injury can be prevented in several ways, especially for sportsman or athletes, by simple steps:

  • Warm-up before exercise or sports
  • Do not start sudden heavy exercises. Gradually increase the intensity. 
  • Stop exercising or activity if feeling pain.
  • Regularly to stretching exercises. 

Q 5. Which medications can reduce hamstring pain?

Ans. Medications that are usually used and taken in hamstring injuries are anti-inflammatory painkillers such as NSAIDs, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and Naproxen (Naprosyn or Aleve). These drugs have side effects, so they must be taken with a doctor’s prescription only. 

Credit to: Freepik.com

Q 6. Can hamstring injury happen again? 

Ans. There is a 50% chance of recurring injury if the person lacks treatment or does not rest and starts the physical activity again within 20 days of the injury. So long time exercise and rest is needed for prevention and effective recovery.

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