Hamstring tears are a common occurrence among athletes especially those who rely on speed and sudden acceleration. Sports that have statistically proven to cause hamstring tears more often include football, soccer, rugby, runners, dancers and even softball.
The hamstring muscles are complex arrangement of three distinct muscles that are found behind the thigh. They are attached from above to the posterior part of the femur and are inserted below on the upper portion of the tibia and fibula. Together the muscles act to extend the hip joint and flex the knee.
How Do I Know I Have a Hamstring Tear?
Hamstring tears are too painful not to notice. The tears usually will make an audible ‘pop’ sound at the onset of the injury which could make it extremely difficult to continue walking. Sometimes bruising is also observed at the point of injury if the tear is big. Tenderness and pain are a classic symptom of hamstring tears and will probably result you in visiting your doctor.
The hamstring tears are usually categorized as being grade 1 (mild) to grade 3 (severe). With appropriate physical therapy, the recovery period can take around a few weeks to a few months depending upon the severity of the tear. Many athletes and other patients who have suffered a hamstring tear return to their normal exercise and sport routines before the recovery period is over which can lead to more damage and further healing time.
Sometimes the tear can be severe enough to chip a part of the bone. Proper diagnosis of an avulsed bone can be done through MRI and X-ray imagery.
Key Steps to Avoid a Hamstring Tear
- Hamstring tears usually happen when the athlete is not warmed up properly. Doing a dynamic warm up for 10-15 minutes before the game can help prevent a hamstring tear. Warm-up period should be increased during winters or cold weathers to fully mobilize the muscles.
- Don’t overdo your exercise routine. If you want to increase the intensity of your workout or sport, then do it slowly with slowly increasing frequency and intensity. Suddenly increasing your exercise will do more harm than good to your leg muscles.
- Opt for strengthening programs and workout to increase the bulk and tone of your hamstrings. This will make them stronger and more durable.
- Immediately discontinue your sport or exercise if you feel the hamstrings or the back of your thigh tighten. Tightening of the muscles is the first sign of a possible incoming tear so you should pick up the sign and relax your legs immediately.
Experiencing some challenges with your fitness and need to consider a Wyckoff physical therapy practitioner? Call Apex Orthopedic Rehabilitation today and schedule your free evaluation!