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Pulled Hamstring Symptoms

Pulled Hamstring Symptoms

Get an elaborate explanation on the main symptoms of pulled hamstring from this article. Also, jot down a few measures that you can take to relieve the condition.
Rajib Singha
Hamstring muscles are located at the back of the thigh. It is because of these powerful muscles that we can flex our knee joint. They also help us extend our hip joint while moving the thigh backward. During physical activities such as those that demand sudden acceleration, speed, power and agility, one or more of the hamstring muscles may stretch beyond their limit and might even start to tear. Such an injury characterizes a pulled hamstring or hamstring strain.
What Indicates Pulled Hamstring?
» The first symptom is generally a pain that erupts suddenly in the back of the thigh muscles. The intensity of the pain may be indicative of how severe is the hamstring strain. Mild strain may trigger a pain that is tolerable. Pain caused by a severely strained hamstring might be debilitating enough to make it difficult for the affected person to walk or even stand.

» Most people can hear or sense a popping sensation when their hamstring gets pulled or strained.

» Pain is usually followed by swelling in the affected region of the thigh. The swelling occurs due to the accumulation of blood in the injured area.

» The swelling may be accompanied by bruising. The area of the injured hamstring may have a black and blue discoloration. The injured area may become tender to touch.

The severity of the above symptoms depends on how badly a person has pulled his/her hamstring. In some people, the muscle fibers may only get pulled. In some, the muscles may tear partially, while in severe cases, the muscles may completely rupture.
What You Should Do?
Following a few simple self-care measures at home is good enough to manage a mild or moderate condition of pulled hamstring. Surgery is required for completely torn hamstring muscles.

# The initial treatment plan for injuries such as hamstring strain that is recommended by medical experts is known as RICE, short for rest, ice, compression and elevation.

The first step towards healing any injury is not subjecting it to any strenuous activities. That is why it is essential to rest the leg with the injured hamstring and avoid putting weight on it. A pulled or torn hamstring worsens even with a single step because then the knee extends or strengthens. Some people may take the aid of a cane or crutches after consulting with their doctor.

Ice therapy is recommended to naturally reduce pain and swelling in the injured area. Experts recommend to apply ice to the swollen area for 15-20 minutes two to three times a day. Avoid direct contact between the ice and the skin. You can continue with the therapy until the swelling improves.

Compression is another useful method to reduce swelling. It also helps lessen the effect of any internal bleeding. Wrap an elastic bandage (ACE bandage) around the swollen part of the leg. If the bandage feels tight and causes pain, unwind it and wrap it again firmly but not too tightly. Wearing compression shorts also helps.

Elevation refers to keeping the injured leg at a level higher than that of the heart. While sitting or sleeping, rest the injured leg on a pillow or two. The goal of this method is to reduce swelling, and return blood from the injured area to the heart.
According to doctors, the sooner RICE is implemented post an injury, the better are the chances of healing. Immediate application of this therapy not only shortens the recovery time, but also reduces the chances of scar tissue formation.

# Some people may be recommended to take over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medicines.

# Treatment of pulled hamstring also involves physical therapy which helps rehabilitate the injured area of the leg. The therapy aims to improve the reduced range of motion of the injured leg, and restore its strength and flexibility. This program is also important because it reduces the susceptibility of the recovering hamstring muscles to any further injury.

Pulled hamstring can greatly interfere with a person's daily functioning. As sportsmen are increasingly susceptible to this problem, they may follow a few general measures to protect their hamstring muscles. These may include warming up prior to any physical activity, taking a gradual approach towards increasing any physical activity, and taking a break from any activity that is hurting the thigh area. Overall, regular stretching helps in making muscles flexible thereby minimizing the risk of not only hamstring strain but many other types of muscle injuries.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.