Hamstring muscle injuries — such as a “pulled hamstring” — occur frequently in athletes. They are especially common in athletes who participate in sports that require sprinting, such as rugby, hurling and football.
Hamstring muscles (there are three of them) start at the bottom of the pelvis. They cross the knee joint and end at the lower leg. Hamstring muscle fibres join with the tough, connective tissue of the hamstring tendons near the points where the tendons attach to bones. The hamstring muscle group helps you extend your leg straight back and bend your knee.
Most hamstring injuries occur in the thick part of the muscle or where the muscle fibres join tendon fibres. A hamstring strain is an injury to one or more of the muscles at the back of the thigh. Most hamstring injuries respond well to simple, non-surgical treatments.
Several factors can make it more likely you will have a muscle strain, including:
- Improper warm-up and eccentric exercising
- Sudden change of direction/speed
- Muscle tightness or muscle strength imbalance
- Muscle fatigue
- Previous injury of the hamstring muscles
Treatment of hamstring strains depending on the type of injury and its severity. The goal of any treatment is to help you return to all the activities you enjoy, and help you prevent further problems in the future. Most hamstring strains heal very well with simple, non-surgical treatment.
- Most muscle strains initially treated with the RICE protocol. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.
- Ultrasound and/or electrical stimulation
- Therapeutic soft tissue techniques
- Therapeutic exercises (strengthening, stretching)
- Gait assessment and education