A painful torn hamstring injury is manifested while performing routine activities, workouts, or sports. Complete rest and timely therapeutic intervention is essential for recovery. The hamstring is a group of tendons located at the back of the thigh. These muscles are associated with knee bending and movement of the hip joint. It is one of the most common injuries reported by sportspersons. Appropriate exercises and care can help in quick recovery.
Although a torn hamstring may be a result of daily movements (walking, jogging, running, etc.), it occurs most often while performing sports activities. Physical trauma or a direct blow to the hamstring muscles can also cause it. Noticeable symptoms are as follows:
- Small muscle fiber tears occur within the muscles. As a consequence, bruising is seen at the back of the thigh and knee.
- Swelling is another symptom, which results due to bleeding and accumulates blood at the muscle injury site. Swelling and inflammation are seen in the area surrounding the knee.
- It can also be identified from the intensity of pain and muscle spasm. Muscle pain is observed at the affected portion.
- Run your fingertips at the back of the knee. If you feel tenderness or soreness at certain spots, it is likely that you have an injury.
- Check for mobility of the knee joint, and try moving it up and down. Experiencing severe pain while bending is a clear sign of the injury.
Care and Recovery
Effectual therapeutic intervention will help in prompt treatment of the condition. Treatment starts at home, with complete rest and limited movement of the affected areas. Here are some tips which can help in alleviating the pain:
- Applying ice packs is a sure way to get instant pain relief. Avoid putting ice cubes directly upon the affected area. Put them in a clean towel and then over the affected area.
- In case of swelling and bruising, wearing a compressive bandage will help in reducing it. Keeping the muscles at a compressed state promotes quick healing of the torn parts.
- Reducing pressure over the injured muscle is crucial to promote the healing process. While walking or performing gentle activities, use crunches for support.
- For relieving muscle spasms, a muscle relaxant comes to the rescue. Consult the doctor for a good muscle relaxant and apply it as per the instructions highlighted on the package.
When to Seek Medical Attention
Mild cases of a pulled hamstring (categorized under Grade I and Grade II injuries) recover with nonsurgical methods. In such conditions, the muscle tears are microscopic, thus repairing them is possible without a surgical procedure. However, consider visiting the doctor in case of worsening pain and trouble in slow walking. Immediate medical attention is also essential if you suspect rupture of the hamstring muscles. Such a case is listed under Grade III injury and is treated with surgery. Surgery is recommended as the last alternative, when exercises and physical therapy fail to restore normal functioning of the muscles. The recovery time differs from one patient to another based on several aspects. Regarding Grade I and Grade II injuries, recovery is possible within 4-6 weeks; whereas, the same for Grade III injury may be as long as 3 months. Care from the patient's side and following the doctor's recommendations are imperative to achieve complete recovery.