WHAT IS A HAMSTRING STRAIN?
The Hamstrings are a group of muscles located at the back of our thigh that are involved in bending of the knee and extension of our hip. These muscles are strained when they become overloaded and may tear.
Hamstring injuries are commonly seen in sporting activities that involve running, jumping, directional change, a sudden stop or start while running.
A hamstring strain can vary from mild – severe (Grade 1-3)
Grade 1: Mild muscle strain. Tightness in back of your thigh when stretched or against resistance. Mild swelling and muscle spasm.
Grade 2: Partial muscle tear. Walking may be affected, may have a slight limp. Pain when bending knee against resistance. Tender on palpation, mild bruising and swelling.
Grade 3: Involves a tear to 50% or more of the muscle. Severe pain, crutches may be required to aid walking. Severe bruising, and swelling within first 24 hours.
Can be due to:
- Muscle imbalances
- Muscle fatigue
- Weak Gluteal muscles
- Poor running technique
- Incorrect warm up before exercise
- Inappropriate training loads
- History of lower back problems
- Sudden sharp pain in the back of your thigh during activity, may feel like a ‘popping’ sensation
Grade 1: 1-3 weeks
Grade 2: 4-8 weeks
Grade 3: 3-6 months (some cases may require surgical repair)
Aims of Physiotherapy Treatment:
- Reduce pain and inflammation
- Improve flexibility
- Strengthen hamstring muscles as appropriate
- Identify any causes/imbalances that may have resulted in your hamstring injury
- Improve running and landing technique as appropriate to each individual