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What Is Hamstring Injuries?

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.

Hamstring injuries can be very painful and are common for athletes of all sorts, including those who play soccer, basketball, football, baseball and other sports that involve sprinting with sudden stops and starts.


Mild strains may not hurt too much and tend to be seen more as an annoyance than anything else. Severe ones can be agonizing, making it difficult to walk or even stand.

Signs and symptoms of a hamstring injury include:

  • Sudden, sharp pain in the back of your thigh
  • A snapping or popping feeling
  • Tenderness
  • Bruising

Treatment at Penn

Many hamstring injuries usually heal on their own if you give them some time. To help the healing process:

  • Take a break from strenuous activities
  • Ice your leg to reduce pain and swelling. Do it for 20-30 minutes every three to four hours for a few days, or until the pain is gone.
  • Wrap the injured area with a compression bandage to minimize swelling.
  • Use a cane or crutches to avoid putting too much weight on the injured leg.
  • If recommended by your doctor, stretch and perform strengthening exercises.
  • In severe cases where the muscle is torn, surgery may be needed.
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