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Hamstring Strain and Pulled Hamstring Treatment

Hamstring Strain and Pulled Hamstring Treatment

Physiotherapy is a highly effective hamstring strain treatment, incorporating personalized exercises to enhance flexibility and strength. Incorporating physiotherapy and targeted exercises into the recovery process, individuals empower themselves to actively participate in their healing journey, promoting a quicker return to normalcy and preventing the recurrence of hamstring injuries.

In this article we explore the different aspects of a pulled hamstring, its diagnosis and hamstring strain treatment plans so that you can make informed choices on the best possible care for your needs.

Hamstring strains, commonly called pulled hamstrings, can significantly impact day-to-day activities, hindering mobility and causing discomfort. These injuries often result from overstretching or sudden movements, affecting the muscles at the back of the thigh. 

Understanding the intensity of a hamstring strain enables individuals to make informed decisions about their treatment. Several options are available, with physiotherapy emerging as one of the most effective plans. Physiotherapists design personalized exercises to improve flexibility strength, and promote healing. Additionally, simple at-home exercises, such as gentle stretching and strengthening routines, can contribute to managing the condition.

With at-home exercises under the supervision of experts, you can regain control of your lifestyle and reduce the intensity or frequency of hamstring injuries.

Understanding Hamstring Strain and Pulled Hamstring

A hamstring injury involves damage to the muscles at the back of the thigh. It often results from sudden acceleration, deceleration, or overstretching during activities like running or jumping. Factors such as inadequate warm-up, muscle imbalance, or insufficient flexibility can contribute to such a strain. These injuries cause pain, ranging from mild strains to more severe tears, affecting mobility and daily activities.

Symptoms of Hamstring Injuries

Hamstring injuries manifest through symptoms like sharp pain in the back of the thigh, swelling, and tenderness. Individuals may experience difficulty walking, bending the knee, or straightening the leg. Muscle spasms and weakness are common, and in severe cases, bruising may appear. Hamstring injuries can range in severity from mild discomfort to debilitating pain, impacting daily activities and athletic performance.

Causes of Hamstring Strains and Pulled Hamstrings

Hamstring strains, or pulled hamstrings, often result from activities involving sudden bursts of speed, rapid acceleration, or abrupt deceleration. Overstretching the muscles, especially without proper warm-up, can lead to these injuries. Inadequate flexibility, muscle imbalances, and fatigue are contributing factors. Sports that involve frequent sprinting, such as soccer or track events, pose a higher risk. 

Diagnosis of hamstring strains and Pulled Hamstrings

Diagnosing hamstring strains involves a thorough examination by a healthcare professional, incorporating a patient's medical history and the onset of symptoms. Imaging tests like MRI or ultrasound may be employed to assess the extent of muscle damage. Physical tests, such as strength and flexibility assessments, aid in determining the severity of the injury.

Physical Examination for Hamstring Strain

Physical examination for hamstring strains assesses the range of motion, strength, and flexibility of the affected leg. It helps in identifying specific muscle involvement, determining the severity of the strain, and planning appropriate hamstring strain treatment interventions for effective recovery.

Initial Assessment

In the case of an initial assessment, a medical professional will inquire about the onset of symptoms and the patient's medical history on consultation. Physical tests, including strength, flexibility, and range of motion assessments, help gauge the severity of the injury. Palpation and observation may reveal swelling or bruising. Based on these observations, the doctor will suggest more tests to accurately diagnose the condition.

Range of Motion and Strength Tests

Range of motion and strength tests help in evaluating the ability to flex and extend the knee, as well as assessing muscle strength, which helps determine the severity of the strain. These tests involve carefully observing and measuring the affected leg's movement and strength, providing valuable insights for accurate diagnosis and tailoring an effective rehabilitation plan.

Imaging Tests for Hamstring Strain

Imaging tests help understand any damages to the tissues or muscles that are not visible on initial assessment. They also help understand any injuries to the nerves, which can help in designing a more comprehensive treatment plan.


X-rays are not typically used for diagnosing hamstring injuries, as they primarily capture bone images. However, in cases where a bone avulsion injury is suspected (where the tendon pulls a fragment of bone away), an X-ray may help identify fractures or avulsions. This can also help understand any underlying bone issues in such cases.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is highly effective in assessing hamstring injuries by providing detailed images of soft tissues. It offers a comprehensive view of the muscles, revealing the extent and location of damage. This aids healthcare professionals in precisely diagnosing the severity of hamstring strains and tailoring appropriate treatment plans.


Ultrasound diagnoses hamstring injuries by producing real-time images of soft tissues. It enables healthcare professionals to visualize muscle structure, identify tears or strains, and assess blood flow. This non-invasive technique aids in determining the extent and location of damage, facilitating accurate diagnosis.

When to consult a doctor?

Consult a doctor promptly if you experience symptoms of a hamstring injury, such as sharp pain, swelling, or difficulty walking. Seek medical attention if the pain is severe, there is significant swelling, or if symptoms persist. If you have had any physical impact such as a sudden fall, an object crashing into you, its advised to seek medical attention to rule out any injuries. This ensures timely care.

Treatment Options for Hamstring Strain

Pulled hamstrings can often be managed with physical therapy and medication, depending on the condition and intensity of the strain. Several hamstring strain treatment options reduce pain and help in the recovery process.

Immediate Care for Hamstring Strain

If you suspect a hamstring strain, it is important to prevent further damage and care for it immediately. To ensure that the muscles are not strained, follow a few steps. Here are some immediate care suggestions.


Rest is crucial for hamstring injury recovery. Immediately after the injury, avoid activities that strain the hamstring. Refrain from intense exercises to allow time for healing. Ice, compression, and elevation can also help reduce swelling. Consult a healthcare professional for guidance on the appropriate duration of rest and gradual return to normal activities.


Ice constricts blood vessels, helping reduce pain, inflammation, and swelling. Applying an ice pack to the injured area for 15-20 minutes every 2-3 hours during the initial 48 hours can help minimize discomfort. It's essential to use a cloth or towel to protect the skin and avoid direct contact with the ice.


Compression helps limit swelling by preventing the accumulation of fluid. Compression sleeves or bandages are commonly used to provide consistent pressure. It's important to ensure proper compression without causing discomfort or restricting blood flow. 

Physical Therapy Techniques for Hamstring Strain

Physical therapy is an effective treatment plan for Hamstring strains. It helps provide relief, aids healing, and can be done at home under guidance, which improves the scope of treatment. 

Gentle Stretching Techniques

Gentle stretching is integral to hamstring strain recovery. Begin with basic static stretches, like toe touches or seated stretches, holding each for 15-30 seconds. Gradually progress to dynamic stretches, such as leg swings. Avoid bouncing or overstretching to prevent further injury. Incorporating these gentle stretching techniques into a daily routine helps improve flexibility, alleviates muscle tightness, and supports the healing process for hamstring strains.

Strengthening Exercises for Hamstring Recovery

Strengthening exercises like isometric contractions, gradually progressing to resistance exercises such as leg curls and bridges, can help strengthen the core and hamstring. This prevents further damage to the muscles, rebuilds strength and stability, and prevents future injuries.

Advanced Treatment Options for Hamstring Strain

Advanced hamstring strain treatment options for a hamstring strain, such as Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy or regenerative medicine, can accelerate healing by promoting tissue repair. These interventions may enhance recovery beyond traditional methods, offering individuals a more efficient and targeted approach to addressing severe or chronic hamstring injuries. 

Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT)

Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT) is a noninvasive treatment for hamstring injuries that involves applying high-energy shockwaves to the affected area, stimulating blood flow, and promoting tissue healing. ESWT can help alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, and enhance recovery. It's particularly beneficial for chronic conditions.

Surgery for Hamstring Strain.

Surgery for hamstring strains is rare and typically reserved for severe cases with significant muscle or tendon damage, such as avulsion injuries. Surgical intervention may involve reattaching torn tendons or repairing muscle fibers. Most hamstring injuries respond well to conservative hamstring strain treatments like rest, physiotherapy, and, in some cases, advanced therapies. Surgery is considered when non-surgical approaches prove insufficient.

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Injections

Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections involve extracting a small amount of the patient's blood, processing it to concentrate platelets, and then injecting this enriched plasma into the injured area, such as the hamstring. PRP promotes tissue healing and accelerates recovery by releasing growth factors. This regenerative therapy enhances the natural healing process, especially in cases of stubborn or chronic hamstring injuries.

Tips for Preventing Hamstring Injuries at PhysioTattva 

Our cutting-edge facility features industry-leading equipment and a skilled team committed to your well-being. Our exercise programs blend professional guidance with activities easily performed at home, promoting a holistic approach to hamstring health. Trust PhysioTattva for state-of-the-art preventive care that empowers you to maintain optimal hamstring function and overall well-being. Your journey to injury-free living starts with us. Book a session today to learn more.


1. What should I do immediately after injuring my hamstring?

Immediately after a hamstring injury, follow the R.I.C.E. protocol: Rest, Ice the affected area, apply Compression with a bandage, and Elevate the leg. Seek professional medical advice promptly for accurate diagnosis and further guidance.

2. What are the Strengthening Exercises for Hamstring Recovery?

Strengthening exercises for hamstring recovery include leg curls, bridges, and isometric contractions. These exercises aim to improve the strength of the hamstring and reduce the intensity and frequency of injury.

3. Are there any advanced treatments for severe hamstring strains?

Yes, advanced treatments for severe hamstring strains include options like Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy and Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT), which promote tissue healing and accelerate recovery. Consult with healthcare professionals for suitable interventions.

4. When should I see a doctor for a hamstring strain?

Consult a doctor for a hamstring strain if you experience severe pain, significant swelling, or persistent symptoms. Seeking prompt medical attention ensures accurate diagnosis and appropriate guidance for effective treatment.

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