What is a Hamstring Strain?
A hamstring strain is one of the most prevalent injuries in sports, especially in those where the athlete is forced to sprint or jump such as in football, basketball or running. The hamstring is the term used to describe the group of muscles in the back of the upper leg. These three muscles are the biceps femoris, semitendinosis and semimembranosus. The severity of a strained or torn hamstring is classified as a Grade 1, Grade 2 or Grade 3, with 3 being the most severe. If you believe you have suffered from a hamstring strain, it is important you should take the appropriate NSAIDS to alleviate any pain and follow the R.I.C.E. treatment methods.
Medical Definition of a Hamstring Strain
Injuries to the hamstring muscles of the thigh can be temporarily painful and devastating to the avid elite or weekend athlete. The posterior thigh muscles or hamstring muscles are injured more often than the anterior muscles of the thigh or quadriceps. The hamstrings consist of three muscles; the biceps femoris, semimembranosus, and semitendinosus. Most hamstring strains occur when one of these three muscles is put on stretch during an active contraction. The hamstring strain or tear typically occurs at the musculotendinous junction.
- Strained Hamstrings
- Pulled Hamstrings
What are the symptoms of a Hamstring Strain?
- Sudden onset of posterior thigh pain
- Injury typically linked to running, jumping, or some other rapid movement.
- A “pop” may have occurred at the onset of pain.
- Tenderness at the site of the strained hamstring muscle.
- Inflammation spreading across the surrounding muscles.
- Quadriceps Strain
- Knee Arthritis
Treatment of Hamstring Strain
- Follow the R.I.C.E. principles to help prevent and reduce further swelling.
- Proper usage of NSAIDS to help alleviate any pain.
- As time passes you should begin the appropriate stretching and strengthening exercises.
- Most people can be treated with a home exercise and therapy program.
- If seeking a quicker and more aggressive recovery you may need to work with a physical therapist. Click here to learn how a healthcare degree can get you started on a path to treating and rehabilitating those whith hamstring injuries.
Greene W.B. (Ed). (2001). Essentials of Musculoskeletal Care.Rosemont, IL: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (330-332)