What is a Hamstring Tendon Strain?
The hamstring muscle is located on the back of the thigh. A hamstring tendon strain, also referred to as a pulled hamstring, is a common injury in sports that involve sprinting or jumping. The severity of the strain can be graded from 1 to 3, with 1 being a minor tear, grade 2 a larger tear, and grade 3 representing a total rupture of the muscle.
Hamstring tendon strains often occur because of an imbalance in muscle strength between the quadriceps and the hamstring. While very strong quads extend the leg, weaker hamstring muscles slow extension of the knee, and the hamstring becomes overworked and prone to injury.
Symptoms of a Hamstring Tendon Strain
A hamstring tendon strain usually strikes suddenly as a stabbing pain at the back of the thigh. After this initial injury, the tendon will be painful whenever an individual stretches or contracts the muscle. Individuals who have a grade 1 injury typically experience pain when walking and minimal swelling of the tendon. A grade 2 injury makes movement more difficult, and it may be unbearable to straighten the leg. People who have a grade 3 strain experience immediate swelling of the tendon and intense pain.
Treatment of a Hamstring Tendon Strain
Treatment of a hamstring tendon strain should start immediately after the injury occurs and include rest and icing the muscles. A compression bandage or support should be used to provide pressure on the injured area and reduce bleeding in the muscles. A doctor or physical therapist should be consulted to help choose the best stretches and strengthening exercises. The injured hamstring should be gently stretched and strengthened without pain. The doctor or therapist may recommend massage and a recovery program, depending on the severity of the injury.