Your hamstring is the group of muscles in the back of your thigh that flex your knee, i.e., moving your heel toward your buttock. The term “strain” means that a muscle or its tendon has been stressed beyond its limit and has frayed, much like a rope that has been pulled too hard. Your #hamstring may be “pulled” or “strained” when it is forced to contract beyond its capacity, like during running or from excessive stretch. This tearing leads to bleeding, bruising, swelling, pain and loss of function.
The symptoms of a hamstring strain may vary from mild discomfort to severe pain, depending upon the amount of tissue that has been torn. Over 90% of hamstring strains occur abruptly with a tearing, burning or popping feeling accompanied by immediate pain below your buttock. Your symptoms will likely increase when straightening your leg, walking or flexing forward. You may notice some bruising that starts near the site of injury. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have notable pain in your lower back, if your pain extends into your calf, if your pain worsens with coughing or sneezing, or if you have a rash on the back of your thigh.
Hamstring injuries are more common when your muscles are tired from activity and happen more frequently as we age. Having excessive tightness or weakness in your hamstring, having quadriceps that are significantly stronger than your hamstring, having too little core strength or poor #running form also predispose you to injury.
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