A hamstring injury refers to the overstretching or tearing of one of the muscles located at the back of the thigh, known as the hamstring muscles. These injuries usually occur in people who engage in sports, exercise, or activities like dancing or running that involve rapid acceleration, deceleration, overstretching, and changes in direction.
While self-care measures such as rest, applying ice, and taking pain medication are often sufficient to alleviate the discomfort and swelling associated with a hamstring injury, proper diagnosis by a qualified healthcare professional is crucial to determine the severity of the damage and, thus, the treatment.
Hamstrings are groups of muscles running down the back of our legs and thighs. The three main hamstring muscles are – the semimembranosus, the biceps femoris, and the semitendinosus. When these muscles are strained too much, they tear.
Hamstring tears or strain can affect the body in a multitude of ways. It can significantly restrict your range of motion and affect your ability to perform everyday activities like walking, jumping, and stretching. People with a pulled hamstring also experience swelling and tenderness, bruising, or a change in skin color along the hamstring region.
In more severe Grade III tears, you can immediately perceive a popping sound, indicating a complete rupture of the hamstring muscles. With Grade I tears, you may experience prolonged stiffness in your leg muscles. When left unattended, this stiffness increases the likelihood of more severe injuries. If the symptoms mentioned above persist, it is best to consult a physiotherapist to assess the condition of your hamstrings and seek appropriate guidance for hamstring recovery.
The leading causes of a hamstring injury are the overstraining or abrupt stretching of fibers due to physical activities. People may experience a "pull" sensation anywhere in their leg muscle or tendon, which signifies potential hamstring injury or strain.
Some common reasons why people suffer from hamstring injuries are –
When people experience Grade I strains, it is difficult for people to recognize the actual cause of the injury. The onset of pain is gradual and non-specific. For Grade II strains, people instantly experience sharp pain in the back of their thighs. Grade III strains are caused mainly by athletic injuries and are primarily experienced by professional athletes.
Physiotherapy is vital in helping people recover from hamstring injuries through various treatment methods. Physiotherapy aims to help restore a patient's functional mobility, reduce pain, and promote healing. In the case of hamstring injuries, it also includes helping a person achieve the same level of performance in sports while minimizing the risk of it recurring.
Physiotherapists are well-equipped to identify the cause of the hamstring tear and assess the severity of it through a series of tests. Based on their assessment, they design personalized treatment plans, which include pain management strategies, therapeutic exercises, and modalities to optimize recovery. They also guide proper body mechanics, stretching, injury prevention, etc., and guide patients through recovery.
Physiotherapy can offer diverse treatment options based on the cause and severity of the hamstring injury. While there are home remedies that help with pain reduction, physiotherapy is crucial if the pain persists. Physiotherapists create customized treatment programs designed based on the specific nature of the patient's injuries and recovery objectives.
These will likely include manual therapy involving hands-on techniques like soft tissue mobilization, massage, myofascial release, and stretching. This helps address muscle imbalances, release tension, improve blood circulation, and promote tissue healing. It may also include modalities like heat, ice, or ultrasound. They also help teach range-of-motion exercises that make the hamstring muscles feel less stiff over time and help patients perform muscle-strengthening exercises that target specific areas of weakness. As the patient improves and recovers, they also provide functional training to help them get back in proper shape for any sports activities. In severe cases, physiotherapists communicate with surgeons to develop postoperative rehabilitation strategies.
A holistic treatment plan is thus vital to ensure that a person recovers optimally and avoids any future complications.
Rehabilitation exercises for hamstring strain such as hamstring stretch, glute bridge, hamstring curl, eccentric hamstring exercise, stability ball hamstring curl are a critical part of hamstring injury recovery. They help in restoring flexibility, strength and reduce the chance of injury recurrence in the future. These exercises are designed to help correct muscle alignment and improve the range of motion while healing from the injury. It also helps a person get back to sports and physical activities, one step at a time, by assessing progress rigorously.
To help heal from a hamstring strain, patients can visit various experts, including general-medicine doctors, primary care physicians, and experts specializing in athletic injuries. Further, they can also see physiotherapists or therapists specializing in treating tight hamstrings through non-surgical treatments.
If a person is experiencing the following, it is best advised to visit an expert.
People who experience these symptoms after sporting injuries or physical accidents must seek medical attention.
An important factor that increases the risk of experiencing a hamstring strain or tear is the quick muscle contractions that occur during bursts of speed. When you forcefully stretch your quadriceps and hamstring muscles, they are at risk of damage and rupture.
People who are at the highest risk of these strains include:
Recovery time for hamstring strain can vary depending on the severity of the injury and other individual factors like underlying conditions. While physiotherapy methods are critical in hamstring recovery, remember that it is essential to be patient and consistent throughout the recovery process. Hamstring recovery time depends on the severity of the condition and typically goes through acute (short), subacute (medium), and chronic (long) phases. As for injury prevention, remember to employ practical strategies like warm-up exercises, proper stretching and strengthening exercises, good posture, avoiding sudden movements, and more.
Physiotherapy is crucial in achieving optimal recovery from a hamstring injury by providing a holistic recovery program that includes exercises, pain management methods, prevention strategies, and more; a qualified physiotherapist is best equipped to guide you through recovery. If you're dealing with hamstring strains, callPhysiotattva at +91 89510 47001 and let our experts devise a personalized plan and set you on the road to recovery.