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Pulled Hamstring

The hamstring is an important muscle that functions to extend the hip joint and bend the knee joint. A pulled hamstring or hamstring strain is a common sports injury, which can occur during sprinting or in activities such as gymnastics, martial arts, or dancing.

Pulled Hamstring Causes

Three separate muscles are included in the hamstring: the semitendinosus, semimembranosus and biceps femoris. A pulled hamstring usually occurs at the back of the thigh in the tendon of the semimembranosus muscle, and happens as a result of strain from stretching.

Pulled Hamstring Symptoms

The symptoms of a pulled hamstring can vary depending on the severity of the hamstring injury. A pulled hamstring is often sudden and painful. Symptoms may include:

  • Bruising can occur from bleeding caused by small tears within the muscle. The bruising usually starts in the back of the thigh, and may pass down below the knee and into the foot.
  • Swelling in the thigh can occur as a result of blood accumulation caused by the hamstring injury.
  • Painful muscle spasms may occur due to muscle trauma.
  • Inability to bend the knee can result from a pulled hamstring, making normal movement such as walking difficult.

Pulled Hamstring Treatment

Depending on severity, the treatment of a pulled hamstring typically begins with a non-surgical approach. Many cases of a pulled hamstring respond well to the RICE protocol, which includes:

  • Rest - taking a break from the physical activity that led to the strain
  • Ice - apply cold packs to the injury at 20 minute intervals
  • Compression - compression bandages can be used to suppress swelling
  • Elevation - when possible, prop up the injured leg so that it is higher than heart level

Other non-surgical treatments may include wearing a brace, using crutches, or following a physical therapy treatment plan. When a hamstring injury does not respond to first-line treatment strategies, your doctor may discuss surgical treatment. Surgery is usually performed when the hamstring injury involves the muscle pulling completely away from the bone.

If you suspect that you may have a pulled hamstring, contact us today to schedule an appointment. We will provide a thorough and comprehensive evaluation and prescribe the best course of treatment for you.

Get To Know Our Practice

Reconstructive Orthopaedics is available to serve you at four convenient Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky locations

Meet our team of orthopedic surgeons and professionals and learn more about what we offer you.  Contact us or call our appointment line at 513-793-3933, and we will reserve the time and location that works best for you — we can usually schedule your appointment within 48 hours.

Montgomery Office
8099 Cornell Rd.
Suite 100
Cincinnati, OH 45249
513-793-3933
Physical Therapy
Suite 201 • 513-985-2256

Fairfield Office
5900 Boymel Drive
Fairfield, OH 45014
513-793-3933
Physical Therapy
513-870-5342
MRI – 2960 Mack Road
Suite 106 • 513-942-4444

Fort Wright Office
1955 Dixie Highway
Suite K
Fort Wright, KY 41011
513-793-3933

Lebanon Office
100 Arrow Springs Blvd.
Suite #2600
Lebanon, OH 45036
513-793-3933

Lebanon Physical Therapy
Rivers Crossing
Shopping Center • 440 Corwin Nixon Boulevard,
S. Lebanon, Ohio 45065
513-770-0333

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