The hamstring group is made up of three muscles, the semi membranosus, semi tendinosus and biceps femoris. Their main function is to bend your knee and extend your hip; the muscles also help with the position of your pelvis. When you over-exert yourself during running or another sport, a hamstring strain may occur. It commonly feels like a “pulling” feeling on the back part of your thigh, behind your knee or near your buttocks.
If you experience this type of injury:
- Cease all activity for 24 hours and see a physical therapist if pain or significantly decreased movement occurs
- Stop the activity and apply ice for 20min intervals for the first couple hours
- Use a compression bandage to help control swelling should this occur
During this phase, do not run or exercise, do not stretch the injured area, do not consume alcohol, do not apply heat, and do not massage the area.
Causes for hamstring strains usually include a decreased range (flexibility) or increased ranges (hypermobility) of the muscle group. Altered position of your pelvis and tight balancing structures such as your quadriceps can affect your hamstrings and how they work. Your Advantage physical therapist will be able to assess these for you.
Seeking treatment for this injury is important because if scar tissue forms it might create a point of weakness in the muscle and might result in a recurring hamstring injury.
Sports where hamstring injuries are common include accelerating and decelerating sports such as sprinting in soccer, football, tennis, or any other sport requiring sudden changes in speed or rapid acceleration.