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A hamstring injury is a tear to the tendons or large muscles at the back of the thigh. It often occurs when the hamstrings are overstretched or overloaded with too much weight. The hamstring may rip partially or entirely, depending on the damage. These muscles help bend the knees during activities like jumping and running.

One or more of the following hamstring muscles may be affected by the injury:

  • Semitendinosus
  • Semimembranosus
  • Biceps femoris

Causes of a Hamstring Tear

  • Past hamstring injury
  • Overtraining
  • Poor flexibility
  • Athletic injuries

Young athletes are more susceptible to a hamstring injury since they are still growing and that bone and muscle grow at different rates.

Symptoms of Hamstring Injury

  • Tenderness
  • Swelling within the first few days
  • Partial or complete weakness in the leg
  • Inability to place weight on the leg
  • Sudden, sharp pain
  • Bruising within the first few days

Hamstring Tear/Injury Grades

Hamstring injuries are classified into one of three categories.

Grade 1 hamstring tear: This is a mild hamstring strain. It is also known as pulled hamstring and it occurs overstretching but doesn’t tear.

Grade 2 hamstring tear: This is a partial hamstring strain. This indicates that the muscle hasn’t totally torn. A grade 2 strain hurts more than a grade 1. An individual will probably limp and feel like his/her leg is weak.

Grade 3 hamstring tear: This is the most severe hamstring strain. It happens when the hamstring muscle totally separates the bone or tears off. A tear that pulls the muscle off the bone is referred to as an avulsion.

When one sustains a grade 3 tear, he/she is likely to feel a “popping” sound. Additionally, the thigh’s back will be incredibly uncomfortable and swollen.

Diagnosis of Hamstring Injury

During the session, the doctor will examine the patient to see if he/she has a torn hamstring. This could include:

  • A physical exam: The doctor will check the patient’s thigh for swelling, tenderness, bruising, and bruising. This will help determine if the injury is mild or severe.
  • MRI: An MRI could be ordered if the doctor believes an individual has sustained a serious injury. The muscle tissue tear will be visible.
  • Ultrasound: An ultrasound is another examination that provides a thorough image of the patient’s muscles. The extent and location of the hamstring tear may be seen.
  • X-ray: One may need to get an X-ray if the doctor thinks the bone was fractured during the injury.

Treatment of Hamstring Tear

The type of treatment for a torn hamstring depends on the severity of the injury. The following are typical treatment choices:

RICE method

This is the first line of treatment for most sports injuries. It is the main treatment for grade 2 tears.

  • Rest: An individual needs to take rest from physical activities so as to facilitate the healing process of his/her hamstring.
  • Ice: Wrap a cube of ice in a towel and apply it on the hamstring for 20 minutes to reduce swelling and soreness. This should be repeated a few times daily.
  • Compression: This involves the use of an elastic compression bandage which can help relieve swelling.
  • Elevation: It is advisable for the patient to elevate his/her injured leg to decrease swelling.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, are also used in the treatment.

Physical therapy is recommended once the pain subsides. The therapist prepares a program designed to improve the patient’s flexibility and range of motion.

Hamstring surgery: Surgery may be required to repair a complete tear or partial tear if the procedures are ineffective. The surgeon will use sutures to repair the tear.

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