Hamstring Strain (Pulled Hamstring)

A hamstring strain or pulled hamstring is one of the most common sports injuries. We explain hamstring strains and outline a detailed rehabilitation plan used by professional athletes.

Pulled hamstring symptoms

Symptoms of a hamstring strain include a sudden sharp pain at the back of the thigh usually whilst sprinting or a fast stretching movement or high kick. Hamstring strains are graded 1, 2 or 3 depending on how bad they are. A grade 1 injury may only be a slight twinge whilst a grade 3 can result in the athlete being unable walk with swelling and bruising developing soon after.

Pulled hamstring treatment

It is vitally important that treatment for a hamstring strain starts immediately following injury with the principles of PRICE (protection, rest, ice, compression and elevation). Cold therapy and compression should be applied immediately for 10-15 minutes and repeat this every hour for the first day. After this, every 2-3 hours is usually sufficient. A compression bandage can be worn to minimize bleeding in the muscle and help control swelling. Rest as much as possible with the leg elevated to help.

The initial acute stage of all hamstring injuries will last 24 to 48 hours. After this time a full hamstring strain rehab programme such as that developed by Peter O’ Grady should be followed.

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