Hamstring Muscle Injuries
Injuries to the hamstring muscles can happen when one of the muscles is stretched beyond its limit during physical activity. Some of the risk factors for hamstring muscle injuries are sports activity, prior hamstring injury, limited flexibility, and muscle imbalance.
Hamstring muscle injuries can range from mild to severe. Mild strains are often referred to as pulled muscles. Moderate strains involve partial tearing. Severe strains are a complete tear of the muscle or tendon, often away from the bone. In some severe cases, the bone may also break. Sharp pain, tenderness, bruising, weakness, and a popping sensation are all common symptoms of hamstring muscle injuries.
Physicians will conduct a physical exam to check for swelling and tenderness. The leg may also be moved in different positions to properly diagnose a hamstring muscle injury. Imaging tests, such as x-rays, can be used to identify fractures and other injuries.
Mild hamstring muscle injuries can usually be treated with rest, compression, and anti-inflammatory medications. Physical therapy is also recommended to improve flexibility and strengthen the hamstring muscles. In severe injuries where the muscle has torn completely or there are broken bones, surgery may be required.