What Is A Pulled Hamstring?
There are three hamstring muscles: the semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and the biceps femoris. These muscles span the rear of the thigh and assist in the bending and flexing of the leg. Injuries to the hamstring muscles such as pulled hamstrings and hamstring strains can occur frequently in people involved in heavy labor or competitive athletics.
Hamstring injuries can range from partial strains to full tears or ruptures of the muscles. What is called an avulsion injury happens when the muscle rips off the bone completely. In these kinds of hamstring injuries, it is possible for the bone to be damaged as well.
Hamstring strains occur when the muscle is stretched beyond its capability. When the muscles are tight, fatigued, imbalanced, or overworked, there is increased chance for injury. For athletes, failing to do proper warm-ups increases the likelihood of hurting the hamstring.
Pulled Hamstring Symptoms & Muscle Tear Symptoms
When a person pulls their hamstring, they are likely to experience moderate to severe pain in the back of the leg. This can occur during movement or rest. Muscle tear symptoms will be more severe than those of a pulled hamstring.
People who experience this may hear a popping or snapping noise in the back of their leg, followed my extreme hamstring pain. Swelling, bruising, and muscle weakness are also symptoms of pulled hamstrings and torn hamstrings.
How To Treat A Pulled Hamstring
Initial treatment for hamstring injuries consists of rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
Anti inflammatory medications will also be helpful, as long as they are consistent with the doctor’s recommendations.
The goal in initial treatment will be to minimize pain and swelling.
Hamstring Repair Surgery
Injuries such as hamstring avulsion, in which the muscle tears away from the bone partially or completely, is a severe injury and may require surgery to properly treat. In this hamstring repair surgery, Dr. Patel will reattach the torn tendon to its original position.
During the procedure, Dr. Patel will make an incision to access the injured area and work on the damaged muscle.
Forceps will be used to to find and secure the tendon, and then pull it back to its original position.
Any scar tissue formed as a result of the injury will also be removed at this time. Sutures with anchors will be used to secure the hamstring.
What Is A Typical Pulled Hamstring Recovery Time?
Torn hamstring recovery time varies from patient to patient and depends on the severity of injury and complexity of surgical procedure required to repair the muscle. After surgery, Dr. Patel recommends crutches and/or a brace to secure the leg as it recovers.
Physical therapy will also be recommended to slowly return flexion back to the leg.
For many patients the torn hamstring recovery time after surgery can be anywhere from 3 to 6 months. “Pulled” hamstring recovery times tend to be less significant.
It will recommended to treat the leg with proper care (RICE) and to begin physical therapy as soon as possible to build back strength in the muscle and flexion in the leg.
Have any more questions about hamstring injuries and what the treatment plan involves? Reach out to Dr. Ronak Patel to learn more about how you can relieve pulled hamstring pain and treat your injury.