Hamstring Injury: Causes and Treatment

Hamstring injury is common among dancers and some athletes. Especially when they don’t complement their activity with a fitness program.

Last update: 24 September, 2022

Hamstring injury, unfortunately, is a very common accident. Although rarely serious, it does cause bothersome symptoms and limits movement for some time. However, only in rare cases does it require surgery.

The usual thing is that the injury is caused by excessive tension or stretching. The hamstrings are a group of 3 muscles that run along the back of the thigh. They run from the hip to just below the knee.

People who play sports such as soccer, basketball, tennis and all those that require running at high speeds and stopping are more likely to have a hamstring injury. also the dancers.

What is a hamstring injury?

The injury of the hamstring muscles is an accident with different levels of severity, which causes severe pain in the back of the thigh. It can affect anyone, but it is more common in those who play sports that involve speed or fast movements.

There are three hamstring muscles: the biceps femoris, the semitendinosus and the semimembranosus. They are located in the posterior area of ​​the thigh and fulfill the function of helping to extend the hip and flex the knee.

These muscles are not used much when standing or walking. Instead, they become very active when someone does an exercise that requires bending the knee, such as climbing, jumping, or running.

The disorder is classified into different degrees:

  • Grade 1: corresponds to a pull or muscle strain.
  • Grade 2: there is a partial tear of the muscle.
  • 3rd grade: the muscle tear is total.
In soccer, injured hamstrings are common. Initially, the problem can be confused with knee disorders.


Hamstring injury almost always occurs when a sudden, powerful movement is made, requiring a significant stretch. However, it can also occur gradually with slower movements.

The risk factors are the following:

  • Activities that require great stretching. They understand dance and sports where you run or jump.
  • low flexibility. A person with poor flexibility has more difficulty making sudden, forceful movements.
  • muscle imbalance. Although this aspect is controversial, the general opinion is that people with more developed muscles in the front of the thigh are at greater risk of injury.
  • weak glutes. The glutes work in conjunction with the hamstrings. If the former are very weak, they generate an overload and greater tension to the latter.
  • poor heating. If there is no warm-up or it is very poor, the risk of injury increases.

Symptoms and diagnosis

The main symptom of hamstring injury is pain in the back of the leg. This is usually sudden and often accompanied by a clicking or popping sensation.

It is also common to experience pain in the lower part of the buttocks when walking, bending over or stretching the leg. There is usually tenderness in the area and bruising.

However, the symptoms vary depending on the severity:

  • Grade 1: sudden pain is felt, which usually returns when moving the leg. However, the strength of the muscle is not affected.
  • Grade 2: the pain is more intense and is almost always accompanied by swelling in the area and bruising. Some power is lost.
  • 3rd grade: there is quite strong pain, with tenderness in the area, swelling and bruising. There is a clear bursting sensation at the time of injury. There is difficulty standing up and walking.

Diagnosis of hamstring injury is made by clinical interview and physical examination. Imaging tests, such as X-rays, ultrasounds, or MRIs, are sometimes ordered to determine the extent of the damage.

Treatment of hamstring injury

If the hamstring injury is mild to moderate, the usual thing is that it remits on its own. However, to speed healing and avoid complications, your doctor will most likely recommend a few measures:

  • Avoid strenuous activities.
  • Use a cane or crutches.
  • Apply ice packs to the area.
  • Use a compression bandage.
  • Raise the leg.
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatories.

Once the initial pain and swelling subside, you may It is recommended to schedule an appointment with the physiotherapist to indicate specific exercises. These will help increase flexibility and strength.

If the hamstring injury is severe, surgery will be required to correct the problem. In general, this procedure is performed when the muscle is released from the area that attaches it to the pelvis or tibia.

Physiotherapy work is essential in these injuries. In this way, recovery times are shortened.

Can it be prevented?

To prevent a hamstring injury, it is best to perform regular strengthening and stretching exercises. Physical conditioning programs, especially when playing sports, are advisable.

It is also very important to warm up before physical activity and stretch afterwards. The intensity of the exercise should increase gradually. If pain is felt in the back of the thigh, it is preferable to stop the activity.

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