The hamstring group is made up of three muscles with similiar function. These include the semimebranosus, semitendinosus and biceps femoris muscles which function is to bend the knee, straighten the hip and postiion the pelvis.
Hamstring strains are commonly caused by lack of muscle strength or power, muscle fatigue or muscle tightness. Commonly they occur during higher intensity movements. This can include ascending/descending during running, quick changes of direction or movements involving jumping. During a hamstring strain you may feel a quick pulling or tearing sensation down the back of your thigh. This is followed by pain and tenderness over the area and may or may not be associated with swelling or bruising.
Guildford PHysiotherapy would advise to:
- Stop the activity and apply ice for 20min intervals for the first 12-24 hours
- use a compression bandage to help control swelling should this occur
- cease all activity for 24hrs and see a physiotherapist if pain or significantly decreased movement occurs
- Rest from exercise and activity that aggravates your pain
- DO not stretch, massage or apply heat to the area.
Hamstring injuries will be graded depending on the severity of the injury. The more severe the strain or tear the longer the recovery time of the muscle. It is highly recommended you seek treatment for this injury. If scar tissue forms then this will form a point of weakness in the muscle and this be a recurring hamstring injury, which will then be chronic.