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Hamstring Strain

What is a Pulled Hamstring

A Hamstring Strain is identified when a tear in the hamstring muscle occurs, due to overstretching or overloading the muscle. The tendon which attaches muscle to bone, and is made of collagen fibres, can also be torn or damaged in the same way. If a tendon is damaged, then this may take a lot longer to heal than the muscle as the blood supply is poorer. If the strain is caused from overusing the muscle, then this is known as an overuse or chronic strain, or by improper technique when weightlifting. A pulled hamstring is a very common injury treated by soft tissue therapy.

If you are suffering with a hamstring strain and want to talk to someone immediately, please contact Molly Haskins at the Sports Injury clinic. However, if you want to know more about this injury & the prescribed treatments please read on.d on ….

A runner suffering with a hamstring strain

Are Hamstring Strains common

Hamstring strains are very common, especially seen in runners that are training constantly. At our Norfolk Sport’s Injury Clinic this is in our Top 10 common sporting injuries. It may also be seen in sports that involve explosive and sudden movements such as Olympic lifting, if muscle is overloaded or in rugby where there is lots of sudden changes in direction and sprinting/jumping.  When a muscle is overstretched, it may result to either a complete, or partial tear of the muscle or tendon fibres, as the tensile strength of the muscle fibres have been exceeded.

Regarding overloading, a strain will occur if the muscle fibres cannot cope with the demands of the excessive loads, during the extensive mechanical stress. This results in the muscle/tendon fibres tears. A strain can also commonly occur when forcefully stretched and contracting simultaneously; this is due to the contraction force being incapable of overcoming the force from the stretch. This may be more traumatic causing a full rupture.

The symptoms of a sprain and a strain are similar, but a sprain would occur at a joint whereas a strain is likely to occur anywhere within the body. The symptoms of a strain vary depending on how gravely injured the muscle or tendon is, however, these are common signs and symptoms of this musculoskeletal condition: swelling at the site of injury, warmth and redness (due to excessive blood), limited flexibility, pain and muscle spasms.

They are most likely to occur within the hamstrings or back muscles. With third degree strains (complete rupture), there would be noticeable lump of the compacted muscle fibres and then a gap where the muscle fibres will have recoiled if the muscle has experienced a rupture or partial rupture.

Degrees of a Strained Hamstring

Strains can be categorised as first degree, second degree or third-degree strains depending on their severity. The first-degree Hamstring strain would be that the hamstring has been overstretched and potential minor partial tearing to the muscle fibre (s) has occurred. This damage is not permanent and can be easily healed.

Second-degree Hamstring strains are resulted from more forceful contractions or stretching and can cause a more severe partial tear/ partial rupture to the hamstring’s muscle fibres and may cause some form of permanent damage to the muscle.

A third-degree Hamstring strain is when the hamstring has experienced a complete tear or rupture; resulting to loss of ability to move the muscle as before for a period of time. This third degree (complete rupture) may take months to heal and may need surgical repair. Once, healed there may be a slight loss of power, however with adequate rehabilitation, this should not be noticeable. In this situation, the torn muscle fibres may also recoil due to their elastic characteristic, this would create a hollow space within the muscle’s structure.

Once the client is out of the acute phase of recovery and there are no signs of contraindications for the therapist, then treatment can be adhered to. Norfolk Tissue therapy can aid with rehabilitation. The client will benefit from Soft tissue techniques to help regain elasticity to the muscles, help break down scar tissue and adhesions and to relieve any unwanted chronic tension.  

Soft Tissue Therapist treating a client with a pulled hamstring muscle

Disclaimer information

* This should not be taken as medical advice and you should still contact your GP/hospital if you suspect a serious injury