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Health Tips / Hamstring Strain

Diagnosis and Symptons

Hamstring strains are caused by a tearing of the muscle fibres in one or more of the four hamstring muscles. The severity will depend on the amount of tearing. Tearing will normally occur at the weakest point. Mild hamstring strains as due to slight tearing of muscle fibres, while moderate strains are due tor partial tearing of the hamstring muscle. Severe strains are due to the complete rupture of hamstring muscle.
The hamstring muscles are found at the rear of the thigh and run from the pelvis to just below the knee. They are important in flexing the leg and bending the knee .

Symptoms include sharp pain, severe muscle spasm and a tearing or snapping sensation. Swelling and bruising may occur. The running athlete will pull up suddenly.
Hamstring strains normally occur when a sudden severe stress is applied to the muscles such as sprinting. Repetitive overuse may also lead to injury .

Preventative Measures

As the hamstrings and quadriceps are both used during sprinting it is important to ensure that there is no strength or flexibility imbalance between these muscle groups. In cases of repeated hamstring injuries the athlete should be assessed and a suitable exercise and stretching programme devised to counteract this. Warm-up and stretching is very important before exercise. Athletes should gradually increase activity through a warm-up before sprinting.

Biomechanical assessment may show up deficiencies in gait or posture which may predispose individuals to injury. Specialised shoe inserts, orthotics, may be useful in this instance.


For serious injury always consult your doctor or physiotherapist. 
To find a Chartered Physiotherapist in your area check

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Last update: 16/05/2013 12:38 • Previous update: 30/11/-0001 00:00