A pulled hamstring is a common term that refers to a strain of one, or more, of the hamstring muscles. Hamstring injuries are one of the most common injuries of the lower body and occur when one of the muscles or tendons tear. Athletes participating in sports such as football, soccer, track or dance are particularly at risk for hamstring injuries. After tearing a hamstring muscle, a person is 2 to 6 times more likely to suffer a later injury. Surgery is required to treat the most severe cases, but in many cases hamstring injuries can be managed through physical therapy.

The hamstrings make up the primary muscle group responsible for straightening, or extending, the hip and bending the knee. It includes a group of three muscles along the back of the thigh that connect the pelvis to the leg. The hamstrings play a crucial role in many daily activities, such as, walking, running, and jumping. They also control some movement within the trunk.

sports-hamstring-1Physical therapists can design individualized treatment programs for hamstring injuries. These programs may include range of motion, muscle strength, manual therapy, and function training. The risk of a hamstring injury can be decreased by always warming up before participating in athletic activities. Also, avoid starting a new activity too quickly; gradually increase the frequency and intensity so that your body may adapt to the new movement patterns. But mostly, listen to your body – if an activity is causing pain be careful and possibly make a physical therapy appointment to get it checked out.

Stanley PT, DPT, SCS, Laura. “Physical Therapist’s Guide to Hamstring Injuries.” Move Forward PT. American Physical Therapy Association, 8 Feb. 2013. Web. 16 Oct. 2015.