A hamstring strain is an injury to the hamstring muscle. A severe hamstring strain can result in a tear of the muscle. Hamstring strains usually occur during running, jumping and climbing and are very common among sprinters, hurdle jumpers and football players.
The hamstring is made up of 3 muscles, the semitendinosus, semimembranosis and the biceps femoris muscles. These muscles are responsible for bending your knee and extending your hip.
Symptoms of a hamstring strain include a sharp pain in the back of the leg, pain with bending over and stretching the hamstring muscles, and pain when contracting the hamstring muscle. Sometimes there may be bruising or swelling.
It is important to rest, ice, compress and elevate for the first 48 hours. Then, begin gentle stretching to tolerance.
Next, make an appointment with a physical therapist. The physical therapist will perform modalities such as ultrasound, massage and electrical stimulation to decrease pain and swelling. The physical therapist will instruct you in exercise to improve flexibility and regain strength.