Hamstring Tear

Hamstring strains or tears are very common injuries within the athletic population occurring usually in sports that require forceful speed running, kicking or jumping. However, hamstring tears are not limited to the sports arena, because Physiotherapists see hamstring injuries from gardening, slipping over when walking, leaning to reach something suddenly and waterskiing. The main role of your hamstring is to assist bending your knee and extending your leg, so you can see hamstring tears are not just restricted to athletes.

The strain or tear happens when there is an overstretching beyond normal range of your hamstring muscle or tendon. It can happen in any 1 or more of your 3 hamstring muscles, with the main hamstring muscles being biceps femoris, but it is supported by semimembranous and semitendonosis. Possible symptoms of this type of injury to look out for include pain behind your leg, tenderness over the skin of this region, reduced range of motion and strength of your hamstring movements.

Hamstring strains or tears can be classified into 3 categories depending on their severity and location which also effects their overall healing recovery timeframes.

Grade 1: mild muscle pull / strain.

Grade 2: partial muscle tear.

Grade 3: complete muscle tear.

However, you can also suffer injuries to your hamstring tendons, which are at the top, the bottom and through the middle of the hamstring like a spine of a feather. Injuries to the tendon, as opposed the muscle, are categorised differently, and these injuries require a longer rehabilitation process in most situations due the differently healing capacity between a muscle and a tendon.

Proper assessment by a Physiotherapist is required for diagnosis, as hamstring tears can present similarly to adductor strains, back pain referral, bursitis, avulsion injury, sacro-illiac dysfunction. Imaging can be used for further assessment information in some cases, and it is usually ordered as an ultrasound or MRI.

Treatment initially consists of offloading, icing, resting, elevating and avoiding direct stretching. Timeframes for these modalities will depend on the grade of the hamstring tear. The latest research evidence highlights that walking on flat ground as soon as pain free greatly assists the rehab pathway. Once the acute pain has calmed down treatment focuses on improving hamstring range and strength through a variety of specific exercises and manual therapy from your Physiotherapist! After the strength and movement gains have been made the final treatment will focus on return to sport and getting you back to top end speed.

Don’t let sit in silence dealing with your hamstring tear (as simple rest does not see a quick or successful outcome) and call an OHL Physiotherapist on 9431 5955, or you can book to see one of our Physiotherapy team via our Client Portal on our website.