Hamstring Injuries

One of the most common and troublesome injuries seen in athletics is the hamstring strain. The hamstring is a group of muscles located on the back of the thigh. The main job of the hamstring muscles is to allow the leg to flex (bend) and extend. Hamstring injuries can occur in a number of ways, the most common is through over stretching. A mildly strained hamstring that is not treated properly and allowed to heal sufficiently may result in recurring strains of that hamstring.

Common Causes

  • Fatigue associated with training hard
  • Direct blow to thigh
  • Inadequate warm - up
  • Inadequate pre - conditioning program
  • Previous hamstring injury


  • Sudden - radiating pain to thigh
  • Pain to touch thigh muscle
  • Inability to bear weight or walk
  • Bump or knot to thigh area
  • Spasms
  • Muscle soreness especially during bending of knee
  • Muscle tenderness to touch
  • Muscle stiffness especially after cool-down period


  • RICE
*   Rest
* Ice
* Compression
* Elevation
  • Reduce activity until soreness is gone
  • Ice to area 24 - 48 hours after injury (15 minutes on, 15 minutes off)
  • Compression wrap or elastic thigh sleeve should be worn whenever athlete is not icing or showering
  • Do gentle range of motion exercises to maintain flexibility
  • Sit on table with injured leg hanging off- gently raise and lower leg during icing period. After icing athlete assumes prone position on his/her stomach and continues to gently bend and straighten leg as pain permits
  • Physical therapy after diagnosis for strength and flexibility exercise


  • Adequate warm-up of body for at least 10 minutes
  • Light jogging
  • Easy calisthenics
  • Stretching exercises: Stretch and flex exercises 3 - 5 minutes before and after sport event
  • Maintain good strength and conditioning program
  • Eat a well balanced diet

Reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional.

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