#SportsMedicineMonday: Hamstring Injuries
Every athlete knows the feeling of pulling a hamstring, but dealing with one may be more challenging that you’d think. Athletes competing in sports involving sprinting, such as track and soccer, should know the signs of a hamstring injury and how to treat one at home or with an orthopaedic specialist.
Hamstring Injury Causes
A hamstring is one of three muscles that extend down the back of the thigh: the semitendinosus, semimembranosus and the biceps femoris. Together, these three muscles help extend your leg and bend your knee.
When these muscles are overextended or overworked, however, injury may occur. The majority of hamstring injuries are caused by rapid, sudden force through the leg that pushes the muscle group beyond its limits.
Hamstring Injury Symptoms
A hamstring injury is typically noticed right away. During physical activity, an athlete will feel a sharp pain in the back of his or her thigh as the hamstring is injured or torn. This may cause the athlete to stumble or even fall completely. Common hamstring injury symptoms also include:
• Pain and swelling around the upper thigh
• Discoloring around the upper thigh
• Inability to walk or put weight on injured leg
Hamstring Injury Evaluation
Dr. Melander invites you to come in for an in-office consultation for any potential hamstring injury. During your visit, Dr. Melander will examine your leg for any signs of swelling, bruising or more severe muscle injury. He may also utilize x-ray imaging to take a closer look at how your hamstrings are connecting to your leg bones.
Hamstring Injury Treatment
Fortunately for athletes, many hamstring injuries are simple strains that may improve with home treatment. Hamstring injuries are most quickly resolved through the RICE protocol, which is designed to reduce inflammation and swelling.
The RICE protocol stands for:
• Rest: avoid physical activity involving the injured area
• Ice: apply covered ice packs on the injured area for 20-30 minutes, 3-4 times a day
• Compression: wear a compression bandage or apply pressure to the injured area
• Elevation: elevate your leg above your heart while resting
Although less common, some severe hamstring injuries require surgery in order to reconnect the tendon to the bone. If your injury requires surgery, rest assured that Dr. Melander will provide surgical recommendations with your long-term health and activity level in mind.
Schedule a Consultation
If you recently suffered a pulled hamstring that isn’t healing correctly, contact the Melander Sports Medicine team immediately. Dr. Melander will examine your injury, provide a diagnosis and development a recovery plan that gets you back in the game feeling stronger than ever.