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Hamstrings Strain

A muscle strain, or a pulled muscle, is a type of injury that

commonly occurs when a muscle is overstretched or torn as a result of excessive force or pressure. This can happen when the muscle is either forcefully contracted or suddenly stretched beyond its normal range of motion.


Strain can be classified according to its severity, as follows:

Grade 1: This is a mild strain where the muscle is stretched or slightly torn, but the muscle fibers remain largely intact. Symptoms may include some pain and stiffness, but there is typically no loss of strength or function.

Grade 2: This is a moderate strain where the muscle fibers are partially torn. Symptoms may include more significant pain, swelling, and bruising, as well as some loss of strength and function.

Grade 3: This is a severe strain where the muscle fibers are completely torn, and the muscle may be completely separated from its attachment point. Symptoms may include severe pain, swelling, and bruising, as well as significant loss of strength and function.

Grade 4: This is the most severe type of strain where the muscle is completely ruptured. In some cases, surgery may be required to repair the muscle.

Before we start to explore the hamstring strain, have a look at the brief anatomy of Hamstring muscle.

The hamstrings are a collective name for the muscles in the back of the thigh. The notable tendons medially and laterally at the back of the knee are made up of the biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus.

Origin: Tuberosity of the ischium, linea aspera

Insertion: Tibia, fibula

Action: Flexion of the knee and extension of the hip

Nerve supply: Sciatic nerve

What is Hamstring strain?

The typical location where a hamstring strain occurs is at the point where the biceps femoris muscle attaches to the fibula.

Symptoms:

Symptoms of a hamstring strain can include tenderness in the affected area, as well as significant pain when attempting to perform resisted flexion or active full extension of the knee. In some cases, the knee may become locked in a slightly flexed position due to muscle spasms in the strained hamstring.

It's important to carefully examine for any associated injury to the common peroneal nerve in cases of a hamstring strain. With grade 1 and 2 strains, weight bearing can be uncomfortable, while with grade 3 and 4 strains, it may be impossible to bear weight on the affected leg.

Treatment:

The treatment of a muscle strain typically involves several components, including:

  • Ice massage or an ice pack to help reduce pain, inflammation, and swelling

  • Resting the affected muscle in an optimal position

  • Applying a compression bandage to help control swelling and provide support

  • Using anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs to help manage pain and inflammation


In addition, well-controlled isometric exercises, which involve the contraction of muscles without movement of the joint, may be started early on in both the quadriceps and hamstrings, even though they may be painful. These exercises can help maintain muscle strength and prevent muscle wasting, which can occur during periods of prolonged immobilization. It's important to note that the specific treatment plan for a muscle strain will depend on the severity and location of the injury, and should be determined by a healthcare professional.

Self-assisted relaxed knee swinging can be initiated early on in the treatment of a muscle strain to help improve the range of motion and flexibility in the affected muscle. However, weight-bearing and strengthening exercises should be progressed gradually to avoid causing further strain or injury. Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) techniques, which involve controlled resistance, can be especially helpful in strengthening the affected muscle without causing pain in the hamstrings.

In some cases, gait training may be necessary to help patients regain normal walking patterns and prevent compensatory movements that could lead to further injury or strain

With proper treatment and rehabilitation, most patients can expect to regain full function within 3-4 weeks. However, the recovery time may vary depending on the severity of the strain and individual factors, such as age and overall health.


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