Hamstring Injury


The Hamstring Muscles are the big group of muscles at the back of the thigh.

The hamstring muscles function by pulling the leg backward and by pushing the body forward which is required for running or walking. Also called hip extension.

The hamstring muscles also bend the knees

When the hamstring muscles injured, the fibres of the muscles are actually torn. The body responds to the damage by producing enzymes and other body chemicals. It is these chemicals which produce the symptoms of swelling and pain.

Causes of Injury:

Hamstring injuries occur when these muscles are stretched too far

Sprinting and other fast twisting movements with the legs can cause for the hamstrings to get injured

Hamstring injuries most often occur in running, jumping, kicking sports and weight lifting.

Low levels of fitness and poor flexibility are major causes as to how hamstring injuries occur

Additionally, where there is an imbalance between the different leg muscles OR the hamstring one leg is stronger than the other leg


Hamstring Injuries usually occur during heavy exercise.

In severe cases the athlete may hear a pop and fall to the ground

In less severe cases, athletes notice a tight feeling or a pulling in their hamstring that slows them down.


Our Physiotherapist will take a detailed history that will include questions about your exercise type and schedule, your activities, and the way you warm up and what does the leg feel like at present. Our Physiotherapist will also examine the back of your leg.


Hamstring injuries are grouped into 3 categories:

  1. ) Grade l: in this type of injury the muscle is pulled but does not result in much damage to the structure of the tissues

2) Grade 2: these injuries are partial tears

3) Grade 3: these injuries are complete tears


Non – Surgical Treatment

A hamstring injury is very important to treat and rehabilitate correctly. If you do not complete your rehabilitation or not seek proper guidance there is a high chance of re-injury.

It is important that you seek physiotherapy and maintain your general level of fitness throughout your rehabilitation.

Our Physiotherapist can suggest workouts that don’t stress your hamstrings

Recovery rates vary:

> For minor muscle pulls: it may take 2- 4 weeks to get back to activities.

> For more severe muscle tears it may take 3 months to fully rehabilitate and recover and complete recovery should be expected within 4- 6 months in severe cases.

Physiotherapy can commence 5- 6 days after your injury

The main goal of our physiotherapy where surgery is not required initially is for RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation)

R= Rest

Rest is critical. You r Physiotherapist will guide you but more severe tears will require longer period of rest

l= lce

Your Physiotherapist will apply ice or ice treatment to the injured hamstring. This helps to control the swelling and pain. For the ice treatment to be most effective at this stage it should be held over the area for l0-15 minutes

C= Compression

Compression can help reduce the bleeding in your muscle and limit the scarring and swelling. Your Physiotherapist will advise and may wrap the hamstring firmly in an elastic bandage


E= Elevation

Elevation can help reduce swelling. The key to elevation is to raise and support the injured body part above the level of the heart. In the case of a hamstring injury, this requires lying down and supporting the leg up on pillows.

Stretching & Exercise

> As your hamstrings begin to heal it is crucial you attend

> Physiotherapy to regain your strength and mobility.

> Our Physiotherapist’s will provide specially designed exercises which encourage the body to rebuild muscle instead of scar tissue.

> The exercises also help prevent re-injury

Swimming Pool/ Exercise Bike

Early on in your rehabilitation the physiotherapist may recommend that you do some exercises in a swimming pool OR a stationary bike set to low resistance. These exercises allow you to take your hamstrings through a range of motion without putting too much weight or strain through the injured muscle.


When you can walk without a limp and feel reduced tenderness the physiotherapist will prescribe a walking program

Jogging I Running

Eventually when the physiotherapist feels you are ready you will be allowed to resume jogging under physiotherapy guidance



Surgery is rarely needed, only if there is a complete tear.

If you have surgery, you will begin your recovery with a period of rest which may involve the use of crutches

Our Physiotherapist will advise you how best to use the crutches and avoid putting too much weight through your healing leg

After surgery our physiotherapist will start careful and gradual exercises