Hardly a day goes by when we don’t see a hamstring pull or tear in our Physical Therapy NOW facility in Irving. Hamstring injuries are very common–but they also can be very painful. Fortunately, they’re also very treatable with some at-home remedies and physical therapy.
What Is the Hamstring?
If you’ve got pain in the back of your thigh, you probably have a hamstring injury. Many people think that the hamstring is a tendon or ligament that runs down the back of the thigh, but it’s actually a group of three muscles in the back of your leg that go from your thigh to your knee–the biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus. Collectively, these muscles are known as the hamstring…which is quite fortunate because it saves us the trouble of telling our clients they need to exercise their semitendinosus muscle. The word “hamstring” rolls off the tongue much easier!
Jokes aside, a hamstring injury is no laughing matter. It’s generally nothing too serious, but it can be painful and a significant inconvenience to deal with since it can affect pretty much any leg movement you make.
What a Hamstring Injury Feels Like
A hamstring injury occurs when you strain or pull one of those tough-to-pronounce hamstring muscles. These injuries typically occur during physical activity, especially sports that require sudden starts and stops like football, basketball, soccer, lacrosse, or tennis. Hamstring injuries are also common for runners and dancers.
It’s generally pretty easy to tell when you’ve sustained a hamstring injury–most people feel a sudden and sharp pain in the back of the thigh, often accompanied by a tearing or “pop-like” feel and/or sound. When this happens, the back of the thigh usually begins swelling and becomes tender; this is sometimes followed by discoloration or bruising and the inability to put total weight on the injured leg.
Treating a Hamstring Injury at Home
Depending on the severity, hamstring injuries typically can be treated with ice, rest, and over-the-counter pain medications. Patience is also a must with hamstrings–you wouldn’t believe how often people reinjure their hamstring because they returned to vigorous physical activity before the hamstring fully healed.
Without letting the muscles heal, reinjury is a very distinct possibility–so it’s essential to give the muscles plenty of time to heal before resuming intense physical activity. And when you do resume activity, make sure you dedicate plenty of time beforehand to warm up properly.
Occasionally, hamstrings are injured severely enough that no home treatment will help. These instances usually involve hamstring tears, which may require surgery. But this is the exception, not the rule.
Hamstring Pulls and Tears Physical Therapy
While home treatment can certainly help with minor hamstring injuries, physical therapy is a great way to treat–and prevent–hamstring pulls and tears. When you come to see us at Physical Therapy NOW in Irving, we’ll give your injury a thorough evaluation of strength, range of motion, and functional mobility and determine the right course of treatment. Through physical therapy, the goal is to help restore normal flexibility to the muscles and take care of any swelling and pain so you can resume your daily routines.
Based on your injury, a course of PT may involve ultrasound therapy using deep heat treatment around the hamstring tissues, massage therapy, electrical stimulation, ice and heat therapy, and exercises that you can do in our state-of-the-art facility or in your own home. These exercises generally involve muscle strengthening, stretching, balance, and agility, and they’re designed to ramp you up to regular activity again. Along the way, we’ll evaluate your progress and determine when you might be able to take up more intensive movement and activities again.
If you’re dealing with hamstring pain caused by a pull or a tear, call us today at (214) 225-0291 to schedule your initial evaluation. Our expert team here at Physical Therapy NOW is ready to help you get back to what you love doing most, without pain–so come see us in Irving!