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Hamstring Injuries

Hamstrings do a lot of work. They extend all the way from the pelvis to the top of the bones of the lower leg, and are an integral part of our ability to walk, run, jump, and bend our knees and move our hips. Hamstrings are made up of three muscles and their tendons, located at the back of the thigh. Although a hamstring injury can happen to anyone, they are most common among athletes (from rec players all the way up to professionals) and are the most commonly injured muscles for runners.

Muscle overload is often the culprit in hamstring injuries. If the muscle is stretched beyond its capacity, or hit with a sudden, large load, strain or even avulsion (which is as unpleasant as it sounds – an avulsion is when a muscle and tendons tear completely away from a bone to which they are attached) can be the result. Because the hamstring muscles contract during sprinting as the back leg pushes off, this is another athletic activity with a high percentage of hamstring injuries.

Risk factors include:

  • Muscle tightness
  • Muscle imbalance (The quads, at the front of the thigh, tend to be more powerful, leading to strain in the weaker, opposing hamstrings.)
  • Poor conditioning
  • Muscle fatigue

Should you experience a hamstring injury, the correct treatment and rehabilitation is key to reducing the risk of reinjury. A mild hamstring strain can be treated with the RICE method:

Rest – potentially up to one week of immobilization

Ice – to control swelling and pain

Compression – wrapping your thigh firmly with an elastic bandage can help to limit swelling and scarring; patients often report less pain, too

Elevation – keeping the injured leg above the level of the heart also helps to reduce swelling, and in the case of a hamstring injury will help with immobilization

Preventing hamstring injuries in the first place is the best scenario. Fortunately, you can reduce the risk by making a few simple things part of your daily routine. A stretching and conditioning program will reduce the factors of tightness and poor conditioning, while an appropriate strength training program will work your quads and your hamstrings, addressing the issues of muscle imbalance and fatigue simultaneously.


If you are a runner or athlete and would like to know more about how you can prevent hamstring injuries, or if you have had issues in the past or are recovering from one, please give us a call. We can help! We offer complimentary consultations. 561-278-6055

Click here for more information on keeping your hamstrings healthy and strong.

Interested in some more interesting muscle facts? Click here.  


We have an outstanding team of licensed physical therapists. If you are considering physical therapy, please call us for your complimentary consultation. We’re ready to get you back into pain-free living! 561-278-6055

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