Hamstring injury

A hamstring injury occurs when you strain or pull one of your hamstring muscles — the group of three muscles that run along the back of your thigh.

You may be more likely to get a hamstring injury if you play soccer, basketball, football, tennis or a similar sport that involves sprinting with sudden stops and starts. Hamstring injury can occur in runners and in dancers as well.

Self-care measures such as rest, ice and over-the-counter pain medications are often all you need to relieve the pain and swelling associated with a hamstring injury. Rarely, surgery may be needed to repair a torn muscle.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications Prevention

A hamstring injury typically causes a sudden, sharp pain in the back of your thigh. You might also feel a popping or tearing sensation. Swelling and tenderness usually develop within a few hours. You may also experience bruising or discoloration along the back of your leg, as well as muscle weakness or an inability to put weight on your injured leg.

When to see a doctor

Mild hamstring strains can be treated at home. But you should see a doctor if you can't bear any weight on your injured leg or if you can't walk more than four steps without significant pain.

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