A hamstring tear includes a sudden sharp pain in the lower back of your thigh or just below your buttocks where the hamstring starts. And as cringe-worthy as it is to imagine, it’s usually accompanied by a popping sound. This type of injury is prevalent in athletes who play football or basketball, as well as in dancers. The cause for a torn hamstring is usually poor flexibility (usually due to not warming up), muscle imbalance or a past injury to the hamstring.
Tearing your hamstring can stop you in your tracks. You’ll likely be unable to stand on the injured leg, and it may be most painful when you try to walk on it, or bend or straighten your leg. Immediately following a hamstring tear, the affected area will begin to swell, turn black and blue, and be painful to the touch.
Treating a Torn Hamstring
Immediately following your injury, treat the torn hamstring by doing the following:
- Rest the leg. Don’t try to walk on it; instead, take weight off of it immediately and elevate your leg above the level of your heart.
- Use an ice pack. Apply the ice pack to the back of your thigh every 20 minutes each hour to decrease swelling and pain.
- Take anti-inflammatories. Over-the-counter pain medications like Ibuprofen or Advil will help reduce inflammation and treat the pain.
- Seek medical attention. When your hamstring is torn, you won’t be able to bear any weight on your injured leg. And if you can’t walk more than four steps without significant pain, it’s time to see your doctor.
The best way to prevent future injury to your hamstring muscles is by warming up and stretching prior to exercise or any sports activity. Even a short warm-up promotes blood flow and prepares your body for the activity at hand.
Are you interested in learning more about preventing a hamstring injury?
To learn more about hamstring injury prevention, or for more information about the services we provide, please contact our office or 805.682.1394.