Hamstring injuries frequently occur in sports, particularly activities that require sprinting such as track and field, basketball, soccer, and football.
The good news is these injuries respond well to treatment, and chiropractors specialize in both healing hamstring injuries and determining the underlying weakness or imbalance that contributed to it.
What is a hamstring injury?
The hamstring makes up the three muscles that run down the back of the thigh, called the semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and biceps femoris. The hamstring is responsible for helping you bend your knee and straighten your leg.
A hamstring strain is either a partial or complete tear in the fibers of these muscles. Physicians grade hamstring injuries according to their severity, with a Grade 1 being a small tear that will heal quickly. Conversely, a Grade 3 hamstring injury is a complete tear of the muscle that can take months to heal properly.
Most hamstring injuries occur either in the thick middle part of the muscle or at either end where the muscle attaches to the neighboring tendons. In the most severe cases, the muscle can tear away from the bone completely.
A strained hamstring typically causes a sharp pain in the back of the thigh. It’s usually painful enough to make you stop whatever you’re doing immediately. Other symptoms include swelling and bruising.
What causes a hamstring injury?
The most common cause of a hamstring injury is muscle overload, where the muscle stretches beyond its capacity, either suddenly or over time. During sprinting, for example, the hamstring muscles are under immense stress — a combination of the individual’s body weight and the force required to move quickly.
Hamstring injuries are more likely to occur when one of several risk factors are present, including muscle imbalance. When one group of muscles is stronger than another, the weaker group will fatigue faster. For instance, the hamstrings may tire more quickly than the quadriceps, putting the individual at risk of injury.
Muscle tightness, muscle fatigue, and poor physical conditioning can also contribute to the risk of a hamstring injury.
They are common in older athletes because of a lack of proper conditioning and in adolescents because their bodies are still growing.
How are hamstring injuries treated?
Your chiropractor will perform a thorough examination to determine both the severity and cause of your hamstring injury. They will prescribe a comprehensive treatment plan that includes rest, applying ice to the injury site, flexibility exercises to increase mobility, and strengthening exercises to help prevent the injury from reoccurring.
If you think you might have a hamstring injury, it’s vital that you see a professional chiropractor as soon as possible. Search online to find a chiropractor that specializes in healing hamstring injuries in Waterford, MI.