Hamstring injury

A hamstring injury is a strain to the tendons or tear to the muscles at the back of the thigh.

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About hamstring injuries

Injuries to the hamstring - a group of powerful muscles connecting the lower pelvis to the back of the shin bone - are common in sports involving sudden explosive acceleration such as football or running. Injury can also result from impact to the muscle, such as a kick or fall on the back of the thigh.

Need to know

A hamstring injury is always sudden and painful but has a wide range of severity. Tears to the muscle result in bleeding and subsequent bruising that spreads from the back of the thigh down below the knee and into the foot. The thigh will swell affecting a wider area of muscle pain and tightness. Muscle spasm is common and may be severe. Flexing the knee is often painful and with a severe hamstring strain the muscle tear may need surgery to repair it.
Strains and tears to the hamstrings usually result when the muscle contracts powerfully against resistance. Your consultant will assess you in detail. This will ask you how the injury happened and give you a physical examination. Special tests may also be requested such as an MRI scan or ultrasound.
Whatever the severity of the injury, immediate rest is vital to avoid further damage. The application of ice, compressive bandages and elevation of your leg will provide short term relief. Crutches may be necessary if walking is painful. The following treatments may be recommend by your consultant: - Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) - Blood injections - Gentle exercise and regular stretching - Physiotherapy

Our locations

Institute of Sport Exercise and Health (ISEH)

170 Tottenham Court Road W1T 7HA London
The Harley Street Clinic

The Harley Street Clinic

35 Weymouth Street W1G 8BJ London
The Portland Hospital

The Portland Hospital

205-209 Great Portland Street W1W 5AH London

Patient stories

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.