Loudoun County, Va. — The hamstrings play an important role in the lower body. They are responsible for helping us stand, walk, run, and jump. Hamstrings are often neglected and can result in an injury to them. One of the most common hamstring injuries that we see in the clinic is the hamstring strain.
What are the Hamstrings?
The hamstrings are made up of three muscles that make up the back of your thigh. They start at the pelvis and travel down and attach just below the knee joint.
- The semitendinosis
- The semimembranosis
- The biceps femoris
These muscles work together to help our knees bend and extend your leg behind you.
Hamstring Strains and Tears
Hamstring strains are a common injury we see in our clinic. This occurs when one or more of the hamstring muscles tears. The tears can range from very mild to very severe which could involve a complete tear of the muscle. These strains most commonly happen when the leg is completely straight and it is given a large load that the muscle is unable to handle, resulting in a tear. There are a few factors that make hamstring tears more likely:
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle tightness
- Muscle fatigue
How to Know if You are Experiencing a Hamstring Tear
If you do experience a hamstring tear you will most likely have pain that can come on suddenly and feel sharp. This will also be accompanied by swelling and bruising at the area of the tear. You may also feel weakness in the hamstrings or some loss of motion when trying to bend your knee.
How Physical Therapy Can Help
Physical therapy can help those who experience a hamstring tear. The first goal is to decrease the pain and swelling and then gradually work to restore motion and strength to help prevent any future tears and get you back to your goals whether they are daily walks or higher level sports.
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