Hamstring Injury

1 What is Hamstring Injury?

A hamstring injury is an injury that happens due to the pulling or straining of one of the hamstring muscles which include the biceps femoris, semitendinosus and the semimembranosus. These muscles lie at the back of one's thigh.

The risk of getting a hamstring is increased by the amount of physical activity one engages in. Most commonly sport activities with a high demand for the use of legs such as basketball, football, tenis and many others. Hamstring injuries are very common in dancers as well as they incorporate stretching to their routines.

Self-care methods such as the R.I.C.E method and other over the counter medication are often the only requirements needed to relieve the pain, swelling or inflammation caused by a hamstring injury. In rare occasions  with high severity levels, surgery may be required to fix a hamstring muscle or a tendon.

2 Symptoms

A hamstring injury is characterized by the following signs and symptoms:

  • It is common to experience sharp pain in the back of the thigh accompanied by a popping or tearing sensation.Within a few hours, one might notice the development of  swelling and tenderness.
  • Bruising and discolouration are also counted among the symptoms of this injury. Muscle weakness and the inability to put any weight on the injured leg.

It should be noted that mild hamstrings can be treated at home but one can see a doctor should symptoms aggravate.These signs may be the inability to walk a few steps without a deal of pain or not being able to bear any weight on the injured leg.

3 Causes

Pulling or straining of one of the hamstring muscles is the main cause of hamstring injury.

Hamstring muscles are a group of three muscles that are located at the back of one's thigh. They include the biceps femori, semitendinosus and semimembranosus. These muscles run from the the hip to just below the knee.

These muscles make it possible for the backward extension of the leg and the bending of the knee. When one of these muscles reach their physical limit of extension during physical activity, injury occurs.

4 Making a Diagnosis

Diagnosis of a hamstring injury could be made by your primary physician, or he or she may refer you to another specialist.

While one initially consults their family physician, he or she might in turn refer to a doctor who specializes in musculoskeletal medicine such as someone in sports medicine or orthopedic surgery.

It can be vital to write down a list that includes the following information:

Detailed information on one's symptoms, any medical problems one has had, all medications and dietary supplements taken.

Questions one might want to ask the doctor include the following: what you expect from them. 

And questions asked by the doctor will be as follows:  Time of injury occurrence and mode of injury.  

Does any particular motion ease or worsen the pain? 

Points of tenderness and swelling will be checked for by the doctor during the physical exam along the back of the thigh. The location and intensity of the pain can help in the determination  of the extent and damage of the injury. The doctor can also move the injured leg into various positions to find out which muscle has been injured and the best way to go about the treatment.

5 Treatment

Treatment of hamstring injury is done by managing the pain and swelling.

To make this accomplishment one's doctor may advise the following:

  • Taking a break from very demanding physical activity will allow the injury to heal. Using a form of support such as crutches or a cane greatly reduces the amount of weight place on the leg.
  • Applying ice several times a day for a good period of time at ago, usually 20 minutes reduces the pain and swelling significantly. compression bandages and compression shorts will also be recommended by one's doctor, these reduce amount of swelling.
  • Resting with an elevated leg above the level of the heart, if possible improves drainage and minimizes swelling.
  • Taking over the counter pain medication such as ibuprofen ( Advil, Motrin IB and others) or acetaminophen to reduce to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Physical therapy after the initial pain and swelling of a hamstring which can be taught by one's doctor or physical therapist.

6 Prevention

Hamstring injury can be prevented by regular strengthening and stretching exercises.

Try to be in shape to play the sport and not play the sport to get in shape.

The appropriate regular conditioning exercises are very helpful to individuals with physical demanding occupations. They can be explained by a doctor.

7 Lifestyle and Coping

Lifestyle modifications are necessary in order to cope with hamstring injury.

It is widely advised to try the R.I.C.E. approach as an initial self-care step.

This includes:

  • rest,
  • ice ,
  • compression,
  • elevation.

In situations where the injury ids worse than just  a minor muscle strain, a doctor of physical therapist are in the best position to help with this process. Firstly by resting , one take a break from any physical activity and basically any movement that can put strain on the hamstring muscles. This will allow the damaged tissues to heal.

Another way of achieving this rest is by stopping any that causes pain, swelling or any form of discomfort. The use of crutches is recommended by doctors in the the case of extensive injury. Crutches help to significantly reduce the weight exerted on the injured hamstring. Secondly it is very important to ice the area immediately, even when seeking medical attention. For the first  few days after the injury  an ice pack must be put on the injured area for 15 to 20 minutes every 2 to 3 hours while one is awake.

Cold is widely known to be one of the best ways to reduce pain, swelling and inflammation in injured muscles, joints and connective tissues. Cold also has an important role in the slowing of bleeding in case a tear has occurred. One of the major points to take note of is to stop applying ice when the skin begins to turn white.

One can also use rehabilitation depending on severity of injury, a sports massages, static stretching and others.

8 Risks and Complications

There are various risk factors for hamstring injury, some of which include:

  • Commonly is the participation of physical activity such as sport, especially those that require movements such as sprinting or running.
  • Other known activities, like dancing might require extreme stretching, can increase the likelihood of a hamstring injury.
  • An individual is always likely to have another hamstring injury if they have had one in their past, especially if one tries to resume all their activities at pre-injury levels of intensity before their muscles have enough time to heal and rebuild strength.
  • Another risk factor is poor flexibility. If any individual has poor flexibility, their muscles may not be able to bear the full force of the action required during a number of physical activities.
  • Muscle imbalance also plays a role among the risk factors of hamstring.
  • It is not a widely agreed upon my experts, but a number of them suggest that a muscle imbalance may lead to hamstring injury. When the muscles along the front of one’s thigh — the quadriceps — become stronger and more developed than their hamstring muscles, an individual is more likely to injure their hamstrings muscles.
  • Some individuals do not follow correct protocol and return to vigorous physical activities before the proper healing of the hamstring. This factor also increase the risk of hamstring injury.