A strain or tear of the hamstring muscle is a common injury for athletes in many sports including running, soccer and cricket.

The hamstring muscle group is situated at the back of the thigh. It connects from the buttock to the back of the knee. The hamstring’s main job is to bend and stabilize the knee.

Injury

A sprain or tear of this muscle can be caused by:

  • over-stretching of the muscle
  • over-loading of the muscle
  • build up of fatigue leading to tightness and injury

What do I feel?

  • Sharp, stabbing pain running up the back of the thigh
  • Impaired walking pattern
  • Tenderness at back of thigh
  • Bending of the knee may be painful

What can I do?

  • Reduce/modify activity
  • ICE the calf (Ice, Compression and Elevation)
  • Rest leg – do not try and push through pain
  • Engage in an effective rehabilitation program with a physiotherapist

If this injury is treated and looked after at an early stage, you should make a good recovery. The muscle takes six weeks to properly heal after a tear, so be patient, follow the guidance from your therapist and continue to do your exercises. Returning to full activity before the muscle has had time to recover may do more damage and prolong your rehabilitation.