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Pulled Hamstring

Pulled HamstringClick to purchase Hamstring Compression Wrap

What is a pulled hamstring?

  • Before we discuss a pulled hamstring, we first need to discuss what the hamstring is. The hamstring is a group of three muscles located on the back of the upper leg. The hamstring muscles are the semitendinosis, semimembrinosis and biceps femoris muscles. These muscles run from the pelvis to the tibia bone (or shin bone).

    What do the Hamstring muscles do?
  • These muscles are used to flex the leg at the knee.

  • What happens with a pulled hamstring?

  • A pulled hamstring occurs when the muscle fibers are stretched to far and begin to rip.  Other terms used for the pulled hamstring are hamstring strain and hamstring pull.  The hamstrings muscle group is usually less strong than the quadriceps muscle group (a group of 4 muscles on the front of the leg -the thigh).  There is research currently being done to find out if in an improper hamstring to quadricep ratio is one cause of an ACL tear.
  • How do I know I pulled my hamstring?
  • The hamstring pull has a few tell tale symptoms. The degree or grade of a hamstring strain will determine the symptoms you will most likely encounter.  They can range from a grade 1 tear to a complete rupture (this is serious- get to a hospital). Some common symptoms are a sudden pain on the back of the upper part of the leg, spasm of the muscle, mild to severe swelling, and muscle bruising (can be immediate or show up later).  If there is a severe tear you may be able to feel a gap where the hamstring muscle fibers have actually been torn.

    Grade 1 Pulled Hamstring

    What will it feel like?  The hamstring will most likely feel tight while walking.  Swelling will be minimal if none at all. What do I do for it?   Ice right after the injury occurs.  Learn to properly stretch and strengthen the hamstring muscle from a professional.
    Heating may help after 24-48 hours.  Sports massage and physical therapy can help if needed (consult a physician).  We suggest wearing a hamstring compression support bandage until the pain is gone.           

    Grade 2 Pulled Hamstring:

    What will it feel like?   

    The hamstring will be in much more pain.  The athlete will mostly likely not be able to walk without a limp. Fully extending the leg may cause pain or even be unable to fully straighten. Swelling will probably be noticeable. You will probably be able to feel pain while pressing on the injured area.

    What do I do for it?  Ice is very important for the first 48 hours.  We suggest you elevate and use an elastic bandage for compression or a compression hamstring bandage.  The compression hamstring bandage is easier to use than the elastic bandage which will have to be wrapped and re-wrapped. Crutches are suggested. Visit a qualified professional for advise on rehabilitation.


    Grade 3 Pulled Hamstring:

    What will it feel like?  The athlete will be in extreme pain.  A bulge may be present where the muscle was ripped.  The athlete will not be able to walk without the aid of crutches. 

    What do I do for it?  You need to put ice on the pulled hamstring asap.  Use crutches, elevate, use a compression bandage and seek professional medical advice.

    Click to purchase Hamstring Compression Wrap


    Is it ok to use crutches with a torn hamstring? Yes, it is if needed. If there is a severe limp, crutches should be considered along with a doctors visit.

    This article is for informational purpose only, please always consult a physician for medical information