Hamstring Injury: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
One of the more common injuries that athletes tend to face is a hamstring injury. A group of three muscles running at the back of the thigh, a hamstring injury can be quite painful, and depending on the grade of the injury, the length of recovery time depends on that.
- Mild muscle strain or pull – Grade 1
- Partial tear of the muscle – Grade 2
- Complete tear of the muscle – Grade 3
What causes of a hamstring injury?
Here’s the thing: almost anyone can get injured and pull a muscle. However, there are some people who are more susceptible to it than others. The following are some of the causes and risk factors that one might be exposed to leading to increased chances of a hamstring injury.
- Weakened muscles and muscle fatigue – a person who has weakened muscles or fatigued is at a greater risk of a hamstring injury compared to others.
- Previous injury – those who have suffered a hamstring injury in the past tend to be at the greatest risk when it comes to a hamstring injury.
- Dehydration – not being hydrated enough can lead to cramped muscles raising the chances of an injury.
- Warm-up – inadequate or complete lack of a warm-up can cause muscle to remain tight, hindering the flexibility of muscles leading to the injury.
- Flexibility – lack of flexibility and pliability may lead to increased chances of a hamstring injury.
Signs and symptoms of a hamstring injury
But how do you know if the pain that you are feeling is a result of a hamstring injury? Below are the common signs and symptoms that one may face as a result of the injury.
- Sharp pain – One may feel a sharp pain traveling from the buttocks or back of the thigh.
- Trouble walking – Following a hamstring tear or strain, one might experience trouble walking, going down the stairs or even getting up.
- Popping sound – Some might hear a “pop” sound a feeling of the leg giving way.
- Trouble sitting – In case of a severe hamstring injury, one might face extreme pain or discomfort while sitting.
- Bruising and discoloration- In case of an injury, bruising and discoloration can occur at the back of the thigh or buttocks.
- Swelling – in the case of a complete muscle-tendon tear, swelling, bruising and lumpiness of the muscle may also occur.
In case you suspect a muscle strain or tear, you need to ensure that you are taking care of the injury immediately to prevent the injury from worsening. One of the ways you can do that is by using the RICE therapy, which includes:
- Rest – avoiding physical activity and resting that leg is crucial ( the doctor may even recommend the use of crutches in a severe case).
- Ice – since the injury can lead to swelling and bruising, it is recommended to apply ice to the area to prevent that.
- Compression – bandage or compressing the thigh is an important step that must be followed to limit movement that could further damage the muscle.
- Elevation – to reduce swelling, keeping your leg elevated propped up on a pillow is essential.