A hamstring strain is usually felt as an abrupt pain at the rear part of the thigh. The treatment generally involves adequate rest, application of ice and compression. This is followed by rehabilitation and a suitable exercise regimen.
What are the indications?
A hamstring strain generally causes an abrupt sharp pain at the back of the thigh. The injury can occur while spinning or executing rapid stretching motions such as a high kick.
The injury can be graded based on its severity.
- Grade 1 – there is tightness in the back of the thigh, but the individual can walk normally.
- Grade 2 – the gait can be affected and can be accompanied by limping. There are also abrupt twinges of pain during activity. There is also minimal swelling and pain is triggered when the hamstring muscle is pressed or if the knee is flexed against resistance.
- Grade 3 – crutches are needed to walk along with intense pain and weakness in the muscle. There is evident swelling right away and bruising can manifest within 24 hours.
Management of a hamstring strain
Proper treatment and rehabilitation is required for a hamstring strain to heal and prevent it from recurring.
The initial first aid for a hamstring strain involves the PRICE method that usually lasts for 3-4 days based on the severity of the injury. Cold therapy along with compression must be applied 10-15 minutes and repeated every hour initially.
A compression bandage or support for the thigh can be used to lessen the bleeding within the muscle and control the swelling. The individual should get enough rest as much as possible with the affected leg raised to allow drainage of tissue fluids.
Once the initial acute phase has passed, alternate hot and cold. During the late phase of treatment, heat alone is used for up to 20 minutes to stimulate the flow of blood and allow the muscles to relax. As the injury improves and pain allows, strengthening and stretching exercises can be started.
Disclaimer / More Information
The information posted on this page on a hamstring strain is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to properly care for this injury, register for first aid training at one of our training centers located throughout Canada. The training centers are in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Kelowna, Saskatoon, Victoria, Surrey, Mississauga, Winnipeg, Red Deer, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax.