Hamstring strain


Hamstring strain is a common injury affecting the muscles at the back of thigh. It is a painful condition because of extra effort done by this group of muscles. It affects both athletes and non-athletes  

including runners, skaters, and football, soccer, and basketball players.

Hamstring strain

What is hamstring?

Actually, it’s a group of muscles that run along the posterior aspect of the thigh. They are responsible for flexion of the knee joint. Namely, semimembranosus and semitendinosus (medially) and biceps femoris – short and long heads (laterally). 

Causes of hamstring strain

It occurs secondary of strenuous action and overload on this group of muscles. This might lead to small tears of the hamstring muscles. It can harm the dancers, runners, or different games players such as football, basketball and soccer.

There is high risk for developing hamstring strain if the player did some faults, for instance:

  • If he didn’t warm up before exercise.
  • If he did insufficient warm up, that’s to say, using just passive stretch of the muscle before starting training.
  • The muscles in the front of your thigh (the quadriceps) are tight as they pull your pelvis forward and tighten the hamstrings.
  • If he suffers from abnormality in the lumber spine, because it may be associated with poor nerve and muscle weakness
  • If he has poor muscle flexibility.
  • Running using poor mechanics such as poor overstriding and pelvic control.
  • If the person has weak glutes muscle, because the glutes and hamstrings have synergistic effect, so there will be overload on the hamstring muscle secondary to the gluteal weakness.
  • Running on a wet ground, because it will lead to secondary strain on the hamstring muscle in a trial to maintain equilibrium and stance.

Clinical picture

Sever Hamstring injury:

Sudden and sharp pain is felt in the back of the thigh. This pain is exaggerated during walking and bending

The patient may feel popping or tearing.

Later on, swelling and tenderness may follow.

Discoloration on the posterior aspect of the thigh secondary to the muscle tear

Inability to walk appropriately

Mild strains may not hurt too much


Regular stretching and strengthening exercises can minimize the risk of hamstring injury.

Regular conditioning exercises can help prevent injuries. Ask your doctor about appropriate conditioning exercises.

Treatment of a Hamstring Strain

Definitely, mild hamstring strain doesn’t need treatment. These are recommendations that help rapid healing.

  • Relaxation of the affected limb: by bed rest and avoid putting weight on the limb by walking or carrying heavy weight
  • Apply Ice or cold foments: for 20-30 minutes every three to four hours for two to three days, until the pain subsides.
  • Compress the muscle. By elastic bandage, this reduces swelling.
  • Elevate the lower limb: on a pillow when you’re sitting or lying down.
  • Take anti-inflammatory analgesics. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory. They will reduce pain and swelling.
  • Practice stretching and strengthening exercises. way to protect against hamstring strain.

In severe cases: may need surgical repair of the torn muscle.

Physiotherapy aims at:

•     Strengthening the knee muscles and hamstrings.

•     Strengthening lower limb muscles

•     Reducing hamstring pain and inflammation.

•     Normalizing the neurodynamics to enable the sciatic nerve to pass freely without scar adhesion.

•     Normalising the muscle range of motion and extensibility.

•     Normalising lumbo-pelvic control and stability – a co-factor in many hamstring strains.

•     Minimizing the chance of hamstring re-injury.

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