Hamstring Injuries

Hamstring strains happen when any of your hamstrings muscles or its tendons are either stretched beyond the point they can withstand, or torn when substantial stretching of the muscle occurs. Hamstring strains are fairly common in sports activities requiring the athlete to forcefully run or jump. A hamstring strain is also called a pulled hamstring, or hamstring tear. An inflamed hamstring tendon is called hamstring tendonitis.

Your hamstrings, or hamstring muscles, are located at the back of your thigh. You have three hamstring muscles; together, they help you bend your knees as you lie face-down, lift your foot toward your back (without bending your hip), and help you walk normally.

Causes of Hamstring Strains

Hamstring strain occurs when any of your hamstrings or its tendons are overstretched, overused, or overexerted during a sports or recreational activity such as sprinting, kicking or jumping. Exercising improperly, such as increasing the duration or intensity of your workout too much or too soon, may also lead to hamstring strains.

Depending on the severity of your hamstring strain, you may be recommended a combination of the following:

  • Rest
  • Ice and/or heat application
  • Gentle stretching
  • Progressive strengthening exercises
  • A range of gentle motion exercises
  • Crutches
  • Electrotherapeutic modalities, such as ultrasound or TENS
  • A work- or sports-related strengthening program
  • Patient education
    • o About your condition
    • o Precautions to observe
    • o Activity or work modification
    • o Injury prevention
  • A rehabilitation program

With appropriate management, patients with minor hamstring strains can usually recover in one to three weeks. With larger tears, recovery may take four to six weeks, or longer, depending on the severity. In cases of a complete rupture of the hamstring muscle, surgery may be considered, with intensive rehabilitation to follow. Return to sport or activity may then take 6 months or longer.


The Cross-Over Stretch

  1. Cross your right leg over your left, with your feet close together
  2. Slowly roll your upper body down towards the floor until you feel a gentle stretch (not pain!) along the back of the left leg
  3. Hold for 30 seconds
  4. Switch legs. Repeat twice for each leg.

A Positive, Healthy Attitude

The mind is responsible for controlling many factors that affect our health. This includes things like managing stress, exercising to lower blood pressure, not smoking, limiting alcohol use, eating a good diet, and the way we naturally respond to various stressors in our lives. All of these things are controlled by the mind, but have a direct effect on the health of the body.

A person who does not have a positive attitude towards health will often let the mind take over, with a negative impact on the body.

Having a positive attitude towards health and wellness will help lead you to your goals of optimal health and wellness.