Hamstring injuries happen when straining or pulling on the hamstring muscles which are four groups of muscles that are found along the back of the thigh. People playing football, tennis, soccer and other sports that require sprinting with sudden stops and starts are prone to a hamstring strain. Runners and dancers can also be affected by a hamstring strain. During straining of the hamstring, one of these four muscles becomes overloaded and the muscles begin to tear.[youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9h1Sf6YokU”]
Symptoms of a hamstring strain
- A sudden and severe pain when performing exercises along with a popping and snapping sensation.
- Pain at the back of the thigh and lower buttock especially when walking, straightening the leg and bending over.
- Bruising and tenderness of the area
- Muscle weakness
- Individual does not perform warmup before exercising.
- If the glutes are weak, it can cause overloading on the hamstring and becomes strained. Glutes are the largest and most powerful groups of muscle in the body.
- The muscle found at the front of the thigh or the quadriceps becomes tight because they pull the pelvis forward and results to the tightening of the hamstrings.
- Take plenty of rest. Take a rest from strenuous activities in order to help rest the hamstring muscles and promote fast healing of the damaged tissues. Avoid performing activities that causes pain, discomfort and swelling.
- Use crutches in order to lessen the weight placed on the affected area.
- Apply an ice pack on the affected area immediately after the injury for at least 15-20 minutes every 2-3 hours while awake. Cold lessens the pain, swelling and inflammation of the injured muscles, connective tissues and the joints. It also helps minimize bleeding if there is tearing of the affected area. If the skin becomes white while applying ice, stop the treatment immediately.
- Wrap the leg using an elastic compression bandage in order to help lessen swelling. Avoid wrapping the leg too tight since it can stop the circulation of blood in the area. Loosen the bandage if the pain is severe and the affected area is swollen and numb.
- When swelling is minimized, apply a warm compress alternately with cold compress for lasting relief from pain. Apply a heated pad to the affected area for at least 20 minutes and then follow it with a cold compress for another 20 minutes.
- Elevate the leg higher than the level of the heart. Gravity helps lessen the swelling and for easy drainage of excess fluids in the area.
- Take the prescribed over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen to help lessen the pain.
The ideal way to prevent straining of hamstring is to perform regular stretching and strengthening exercises in order to help minimize the risk of injuring the hamstring. Seek the help of a physical therapist for proper conditioning exercises.