A pulled or strained hamstring certainly is one of the most common sports injuries. Symptoms include a sudden sharp pain in the back of the thigh during a fast-stretching movement or while sprinting. A hamstring strain is graded between 1 and 3 according to its severity. For example, with a Grade 3 injury, the patient would not be able to walk and bruising and swelling would develop soon after, while a Grade 1 injury may be just a slight twinge.
It is very important for treatment of a hamstring pull to commence immediately with the PRICE principle:
The first acute stage of hamstring sports injuries lasts for 24 – 48 hours. After this period, a full rehabilitation program should be developed and implemented by a physiotherapist. Stretching exercises can only begin when pain permits. Usually, strengthening exercises are possible before the hamstring can be stretched.
Strengthening exercises start with gentle isometric or static contractions and gradually progress to more dynamic exercises that involve movement. Eventually the patient can perform even more advanced exercises and sprint training. The final component of treatment of hamstring sports injuries is maintenance fitness, which is critical in speeding up the patient’s return to full health.