Hamstring strains

What is a hamsting strain?

Strains range from a complete rupture of the muscle to small micro-tears that the player will probably not notice at the time.

Causes
A hamstring strain commonly follows reaching for a ball, kicking and sprinting. Contributing factors include improper warm up, fatigue, poor flexibility, strength, muscle imbalance (quadriceps more powerful leaves hamstring prone to injury).

Symptoms


  • A sudden sharp pain at the back of the leg
  • Muscles going into spasm.
  • Swelling and bruising
  • If the rupture is very bad you can feel a gap in the muscle

Strains are graded 1, 2 or 3 depending on severity. A grade 1 might consist of small micro tears in the muscle. A grade 2 would be a partial tear in the muscle and grade 3 is a severe or complete rupture of the muscle.

Grade 1: symptoms


  • Tightness in the thigh
  • Unable to walk properly

What you can do

  • Use a compression bandage or heat retainer until you feel no pain
  • Ease down your training for a week or two but no need to stop completely unless you are getting pain
  • See a sports injury specialist

Grade 2: symptoms


  • Unable to walk properly
  • Sudden twinges of pain during activity
  • Swelling
  • Bending the knee against resistance causes pain
  • Unable to fully straighten the knee

What you can do

  • Apply RICE: rest - slows down bleeding and reduces the risk of further damage; Ice - eases pain, reduces swelling, reduces bleeding initially; compression - reduces bleeding and swelling; elevation - reduces bleeding and swelling by allowing fluids to flow away from the site of injury.
  • See a sports injury specialist

Grade 3:


  • Unable to walk properly without crutches
  • Severe pain
  • Immediate swelling

What can you do?


  • Seek medical attention immediately.
  • Apply RICE: rest - slows down bleeding and reduces the risk of further damage; Ice - eases pain, reduces swelling, reduces bleeding initially; compression - reduces bleeding and swelling; elevation - reduces bleeding and swelling by allowing fluids to flow away from the site of injury.

Health24, Ocotber 2003

Other related articles:
Painkillers (Paracetamol)
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
COX-2 specific inhibitors
Different Steroids
Cortisone injections

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