Hamstring Injuries In Athletes: Grades, Causes, & Treatments

Athletes engage their bodies a lot in sports, so naturally, there are more chances of them getting injured in various ways. One of those injuries includes hamstring injury. Severe injuries may require an orthopedic surgeon whereas many of those can be healed by the right treatment from a sports injuries specialist. Here is everything you need to know about it.

Hamstring Injuries

If you’re an athlete or simply love to play a lot of sports, then your body is always at risk of getting injured. Hamstrings are essentially the tendons that are attached to the back of the thighs. They keep the muscles and bones in place and it allows movement and flexing of the thighs. Hamstrings are also essential in moving the knee, in jumping, and especially in climbing when you engage the leg muscles. Hamstrings are very large tendons that start from the hips, then go through your thighs, and end at the back of the knees, so they’re extremely important.

However, when you play a lot of sports and put your thighs under a lot of stress, then it can lead to injuries in the tendon. The tendon when stretched beyond a certain limit, can either tear or sprain and it can cause a lot of problems. Any strain or inability to move the thigh or knee because of the hamstring is known as hamstring injury.

Usually, hamstring injuries consist of tears and strains but those are enough to completely halt movement in the leg and that’s not what you want. If you feel any pain and numbness in the backs of your thighs, just below the gluteus region, then you need to consult with a doctor right away.

Grades Of Hamstring Injuries

Here are certain grades of hamstring injuries that you should know about:

Grade 1

A grade 1 hamstring injury is kind of like a muscle pull but on the backs of your upper thighs. The region can feel tight and there’s little to no flexibility. However, with proper rest and massage, the muscles and tendons will regain their elasticity and you’ll be good to go.

Grade 2

Grade 2 hamstring injury involves minor tears of the muscle. This can happen if you overwork your legs too much, to the point where you can tear the tendon and muscle. This can lead to pinching pain in the thigh, especially when you try to move your knee or even do a light jump. This injury does take a bit more time to heal than the grade 1 injury because it’s a tear.

The doctor or podiatrist Woodbridge will advise you to stay put for a couple of days and let the tear fuse up by itself. Until then, you need to stop all kinds of overexerting exercises, because those can end up doing more bad than good.

Grade 3

Grade 3 hamstring injury is the worst of all. It’s essentially a big muscle tear and it can cause the thigh to hurt a lot. Usually, a grade 3 muscle tear takes anywhere between 2 to 3 months to heal with proper rest and medication, because it hurts like the devil and you need some sort of painkiller to breathe through the pain.

Again, this year can occur due to any overexerting activity when you flex the hamstring to the point of tearing. So, it’s suggested to avoid overusing your leg when playing sports.

Causes Of Hamstring Injuries

Hamstrings are flexible tendons but that doesn’t mean that you can push the limits to the point of getting injured. Usually, the main cause of hamstring injury can be overworking your legs and this can happen a lot with people who play lots of sports with no rest.

Things like sprinting, jumping, powerful movements like lunging and even certain leg exercises can lead to hamstring injuries. Even if you’re not doing rigorous exercises, you can still be prone to hamstring injuries and that can be because you’re not warming up your body well enough. Simple things like brisk walking and jumping the rope, even if you do it slowly and mindfully, can cause hamstring injuries in the future.

Athletes who don’t warm their limbs up before a rigorous exercise or sports session can fall victim to this injury and that is something you need to keep in mind if you play lots of sports too.

The whole point of warming up your body before exercise is that you can loosen the tension in the muscles and tendons and then go forward with exerting force on your body. Once your tendons and muscles are nice and flexible, they are better able to endure the forces and stress you put on them during sports or exercise.

Symptoms Of Hamstring Injuries

Now that you know what hamstring injury is in athletes and how they’re caused, here are some symptoms that are important to look over, so that you can know exactly what you’re up against.

  • As soon as the tendon tears, you will feel a sharp pinching pain in the back of your thigh. It usually occurs in the upper thigh right below the gluteus region.
  • When you try to flex the torn hamstring, there might be a distinct popping sound.
  • There might be swelling or tenderness in the affected area and when you touch it, it will feel very raw.
  • There will be a slight limp in your step, because you also use your upper thighs to walk flawlessly, even though the hamstrings aren’t exactly responsible for making you walk perfectly.
  • When you sit down, you’ll feel shooting pain that will go all the way down to your knee and that can be pretty uncomfortable.
  • Your muscles might get weak and you’ll experience a hard time running and jumping.
  • There might also be bruises on the affected area because of the lack of blood circulation.

Treatment & Prevention

Here are some treatment options for hamstring injuries.

As far as non-surgical procedures are concerned:

  • You need to ice the area. The cold temperature will do wonders for the pain and with time you’ll feel a lot better.
  • Physical therapy and giving your body a rest will also heal hamstring injury naturally, so take a much-needed breather.
  • You need to rest. Hamstring injuries are not that serious unless you don’t take the treatment seriously. With some rest and massage, your thighs will get better.
  • Take pain medication to deal with the sudden onslaught of pain. Depending on your threshold, you can take as little or as many as you want, until you feel comfortable.
  • Hamstring injuries can be treated surgically, especially if the tear is too big and non-surgical methods aren’t working their charm.

The tear can be surgically fused back by taking hamstrings or tendons from the pelvis region or shinbone and then it’s used to suture the tear. The healing time is about a month or two, so you’ll need to take a break from all kinds of sports for that time being.


Hamstring injury can take a toll on the athlete and if it’s not treated properly, then it could very likely mark the end of the career for the person involved. So, consult your sports medicine doctor Woodbridge to treat hamstring injury properly and also use their advice to avoid injuries.

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