A pulled hamstring or hamstring strain is a common sports injury and is felt as a sudden sharp pain in the back of the thigh. They most often occur when sprinting or doing a high kick or fast stretching movement and are common in sports such as soccer, basketball, football, tennis, martial arts, and track and field. They can also occur in activities such as dancing.

What Is a Pulled Hamstring?
The hamstring is a powerful group of three muscles – the semitendinosus, semimembranosus and biceps femoris – that runs from the lower part of the pelvis down to the back of the shin bone. They contract to bend the knee and straighten the hip.
Our muscles have a limited degree of elasticity and range, and when a muscle is stretched beyond that point, it can leave large tears.

Hamstring pulls are graded 1, 2, or 3 depending on severity. A Grade 1 pull might only produce a slight twinge, whereas a Grade 3 usually renders the athlete unable to walk. Bruising might be noticeable 24 to 48 hours after the injury.

A pulled hamstring might feel like sudden and severe pain, sometimes accompanied by a popping feeling, or pain in the back of the buttock and thigh when walking, bending over, or straightening the leg.

Pulled hamstrings are more likely to occur if the athlete doesn’t warm up before exercising, has tight quadriceps muscles (in the front of the thigh), or has weak glute muscles since the glutes and hamstrings work together. Hamstrings become overloaded and strained when glutes are weak. Poor flexibility and range of motion can also contribute to a pulled hamstring, as inflexible muscles sometimes can’t withstand the force of sudden movements.

Immediate treatment for a hamstring injury includes RICE – rest, ice, compression, and elevation – to control the swelling, pain, and bleeding that leads to bruising.

A chiropractor will examine the hamstring to determine the origin of the tear, and look for muscular imbalances that contributed to the injury. An examination of the entire kinetic chain from the feet, knees, hips, and lower back can help determine muscle imbalances, poor posture, or faulty running mechanics that can contribute to injury.

Chiropractic treatment for a pulled hamstring can include deep muscle procedures to break up scar tissue, adjustments to address tightness in the joints, and stretches to increase flexibility.

A focus of the treatment is often the prevention of further injuries since athletes who’ve had one hamstring injury are more likely to have another. A hamstring injury is more likely to reoccur if an athlete resumes activity before the tear is completely healed.

It is important to seek proper treatment for a pulled hamstring as incomplete or improper healing can lead to reinjuring the muscle.

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