Healthy physical activities have to be a part of everyone’s lifestyle. When you are physically active, you can keep your body and mind fresh, steer clear of disease and age more gracefully. Not to mention, physical activities can have a positive impact on your cognitive functioning as well. However, this active lifestyle has its challenges too. When you perform a lot of physical and athletic activity, there are certain parts of your body that are prone to injury – such as the hamstring. This problem is pretty common in athletes and sportsmen – and especially in sports where you have to run a lot – for example, football, basketball, etc.
What Is a Hamstring?
Often written and spoken as a singular, it is not just one string but a collection of muscles that’s referred to as hamstring. These are 3 muscles located at the back of your thigh providing support when you flex or bend your knee. The muscles start from your hip bone and extend to your knee. The names of the three muscles are biceps femoris, semimembranosus and semitendinosus. If it weren’t for your hamstring, you would have never been able to run, walk or squat.
What Causes a Hamstring Pull?
There can be many reasons behind your pulled hamstring. You stand a high chance of pulling a hamstring if you run a lot or play football and other similar leg-strenuous sports. Hamstring pulls are more common when you start exercising without proper warm-up. Bad footwear, weak glutes and weak muscle strength are other causes of a hamstring pull.
Signs of Pulled/Strained Hamstring
The severity of pain depends on how much damage you have done to your hamstring. This can be segregated into 3 different grades:
- You have a grade 1 hamstring pull, which happens when your muscles have over-stretched but there are no signs of muscle tear.
- Grade 2 hamstring pull involves overly stretched leg muscles and tendon or ligament tearing, which can lead to other problems.
- Grade 3 occurs very rarely even in athletes and can result in complete tearing of the muscles.
Regardless of the severity of your injury, you will feel a sharp pain at the backside of your thigh when you pull your hamstring. A grade 1 pull will cause mild discomfort. You will feel pain when extending your knee, but the exact location of the injury will be hard to determine. Swelling is only minimal in this case and the limp is close to unnoticeable. However, doing physical activity during this time can worsen the condition.
In a grade 2 hamstring pull, you will feel a sharp and acute pain. In this case, it is recommended that you rest and avoid any strenuous physical activity. The location of the pain is at the backside of your thigh and the buttocks. The area of injury will become sensitive and tender. You will also be limping.
The pain felt during grade 3 hamstring pull is identical to that of grade 2, but swelling and bruises are more prominent in this condition. In many cases, a grade 3 pull will make a popping sound – go to a medical professional immediately. Bruising and swelling can extend from your thigh to your knee and calf area.