Hamstring Strain :: Nationwide Children's Hospital

Hamstring Strain

What is a hamstring strain?

  • A hamstring strain is a stretching or tearing of the hamstring muscles located in the back of the thigh.

What causes hamstring strains?

  • Hamstring strains are usually caused by an over-stretching of the muscle.
  • Continuing to run and sprint when the hamstring muscle is feeling tight.

 What are the symptoms?

  • Immediate pain in the back of the thigh.
  • Pain with movement or activity over the back of the thigh.
  • Swelling or bruising in the back of the thigh.
  • Walking with a limp.
  • The feeling of a “pop” or “snap” felt in the back of the thigh when the injury occurred.

What can I do to feel better?

  • Rest. Do not do things that cause pain.
  • Ice for 15-20 minutes at a time will help decrease swelling and pain.
  • Compression can be helpful to decrease swelling and pain.
  • If walking is painful, crutches are often recommended to allow for optimal healing.
  • Once the pain has subsided, light stretching and strengthening of the hamstring muscle is recommended. Then progress slowly back to jogging and then running/cutting activities.
  • Returning to full activity with sprinting to soon is likely to cause re-injury to those healing muscles.

When should I see a medical professional?

  • If rest, ice, and compression are not improving the condition.
  • If you are unable to put weight on your leg.
  • If you are unsure about the severity of the condition.

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Nationwide Children's Hospital
700 Children's Drive Columbus, Ohio 43205 614.722.2000