Hamstring strains are very common in spring sports in Northeastern Pennsylvania in great part due to our climate. Each spring, as the season begins, many athletes suffer from pain in the back of their thigh when they pull or strain the hamstring muscle from aggressive activity in cold temperatures, following a long winter layoff. Even for those involved in winter sports, the muscle may not be accustom to working in the same manner as required for the specific spring sport. This week’s column presents the cause and symptoms of a hamstring strain. Next week will be dedicated to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of this injury based on new research supporting specific training techniques.
A hamstring strain is a tear of the muscle fibers of the muscle group in the back of the thigh called the hamstring. The hamstring muscle is a group of three muscles that run from the back of the hip (lower pelvis), crossing the back of the knee and attaches to the knee bone (tibia). The hamstring muscles work to extend the hip and bend the knee during running and walking activities. They are very active when an athlete changes direction, especially forwards and backwards or decelerating. This injury, like others, varies in intensity. Severe hamstring strain occurs when many muscle fibers are torn. In very severe cases, the boney attachment can be pulled so strongly that a small fracture can occur. Healing time can be as short as a few days or as long as weeks or even months.
SOURCES: Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Visit your doctor regularly and listen to your body.
NEXT MONDAY – Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!” Next Week: “Hamstring Strains – Part II.”
This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email:firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an affiliated faculty member at the University of Scranton, PT Dept.