There is a difference between a muscle cramp and a hamstring injury. This article will tell you all about hamstring injury symptoms, the treatment options, and important precaution methods.
Sometimes, while running, we get a painful cramp in our thighs. Muscle cramp occurs due to insufficient oxygen supply to that part of the body. It is caused due to sudden extension of the hamstring muscle, which is used for bending the knees and for extending the hip. The injury is caused either due to excessive stretching or contraction beyond limits. It usually occurs when one starts his activity without warming up the body. A proper warm up session helps in strengthening of muscles, making them flexible and endurable. Hamstring is a group of muscles in the thigh, comprising three muscles – biceps femoris, semitendonous, and semimembranous. The injury is caused due to injury to one of these muscles.
The categorization of these injuries are as follows.
- Mild Injury – It is relatively microscopic, with very minute tear in muscles. It is cured in two to five days.
- Moderate Injury – Immediate and moderate pain is observed. It can take one month to heal.
- Severe Injury – Injury is serious, causing enormous pain and tear of muscle. It can take two to three months to heal.
The symptoms may vary according to the seriousness of the injury.
- There is no sign of muscle pain until the physical activity is over.
- Pain is observed, while resting or moving of legs.
- Pain is mild, as less number of muscles may have been injured. It is necessary to rest and avoid vigorous activity, as it would lead to a major injury.
- The muscles tend to become weak and tired.
- Very little or no swelling is observed.
- Very little or no internal bleeding occurs.
- Uneasiness, or slight difficulty in moving and bending of legs is experienced.
- In case of mild injury, one must rest his thigh and knee against a support.
- Pain is more than what is experienced in mild injury.
- It increases with contraction and relaxation of muscles.
- One finds it difficult to walk properly.
- One experiences soreness in the area of the muscle location.
- Internal bleeding occurs, due to which redness is seen on the affected area.
- Bulging or swelling is observed.
- Hamstring muscle gets exhausted; the leg becomes too heavy, and it becomes painful to move. Along with proper medication, rest is necessary.
- First aid should be provided for moderate injury.
- Pain is extreme and severe.
- As muscle tear is enormous, there is heavy internal bleeding of muscles.
- The bulging or swelling is large, and it increases, as more and more internal bleeding occurs.
- In some cases, all the three aforementioned muscles are injured severely. It requires immediate medical aid, within 48 hours.
- Sometimes, the injury is so severe that one becomes unconscious due to heavy pain and bleeding.
- One is unable to move and bend his leg and knees, as this injury ruptures the whole muscle.
- In severe injury, tight bandage must be applied, and the patient should be rushed to the hospital.
- One should always take care not to put a lot of strain on this particular muscle.
- Athletes should wear flexible pants or track pants while exercising; they should not start their physical activities or exercises without a proper warm up. Remarkably, it is this small step that is the key to prevent the injury.
- People working out in a gymnasium must work out according to their capabilities, as too much of weightlifting or exercising may lead to injury, which is often called a pulled hamstring.
- If you pull a muscle, look out for the symptoms, and plan your recovery accordingly.
- People new to exercise or learning a new stunt, or working out in the gym, should try to keep their body flexible, and make it strong to prevent the injury.
- Massaging regularly with a suitable oil will also help in making the muscles strong.
- Cover the thigh with a tight band to prevent excessive bleeding and bulging.
- One must be carried on a stretcher or anything which can firmly carry the person, so as to prevent further strain on the affected area.
- Medical tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging, ultrasound, X-ray, and computerized tomography scan must be carried out to determine the nature of injury for exact treatment.
- Treatment includes medicines, physiotherapy, and massages to increase blood circulation to the injured part. Patient must take complete rest.
- If injury is very severe, surgery is preferred.
The hamstring muscle is like a rubber band, which becomes weak in its elasticity and gets worn out, when it experiences excessive strain. If the rubber is flexible and endurable, it can withhold the strain. In the same way, exercising regularly and in the right way makes the muscles strong and flexible, to withstand any excess muscle strain. So exercise regularly, and in a proper way.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.