Hamstring injury

"The treatment of hamstring strain will vary according to the type of injury you have, its severity and your own needs and expectations".


Hamstring muscle injuries often occur in athletes or as a result of forced hip flexion with the knee straight. They are especially common in athletes who participate in sports that require running, jumping, and direction changes.

Hamstrings are a group of muscles that help extend the leg backward and bend the knee. They run along the back of the thigh.

In more severe hamstring injuries, the tendon is torn completely from the bone. It can even tear a bone fragment or avulsion.

Most hamstring injuries respond well to simple, non-surgical treatment.

What are the symptoms of hamstring injury?

Hamstring injury causes a sudden, sharp pain in the back of your thigh. This will cause it to stop quickly.

Additional symptoms may include swelling, muscle weakness or the appearance of a bruise on your thigh or hamstring.

What are the hamstrings?

There are three muscles:

  • Semitendinosus
  • Semi-membrane
  • Biceps femoral

Do you have any of these symptoms?

You may have suffered a hamstring injury

What are the causes of hamstring injury?

Muscle overload is the main cause of hamstring strain. This can happen when the muscle is stretched beyond its capacity.

A sudden jump, stretch, or impact can tear the muscle from its connection to the bone.

Hamstring strains occur more often in adolescents because bones and muscles do not grow at the same rate. During growth spurts, a child's bones can grow faster than muscles. Growing bone strains the muscle.

Risk factors for hamstring injuries

There are several factors that may make it more likely that you will have a muscle strain, including:

  • Muscle tension. Tense muscles are vulnerable to stress.
  • Athletes should follow a daily stretching exercise program throughout the year.
  • Muscle imbalance. When one muscle group is much stronger than its opposite muscle group, the imbalance can lead to tension. This often occurs with the hamstrings.
  • The quadriceps muscles at the front of the thigh are usually more powerful. During high-speed activities, the hamstring can fatigue faster than the quadriceps. This fatigue can lead to stress.
  • Poor conditioning.
  • Muscle fatigue. Fatigue reduces the muscle's ability to absorb energy, making it more susceptible to injury.

How are hamstring injuries diagnosed?

The patient's history and physical examination are key and sufficient for the diagnosis that the degree of injury can be confirmed by ultrasound or MRI.

How are hamstring injuries treated?

The goal of any treatment, non-surgical or surgical, is to help you return to all activities in the shortest time possible

Most hamstring strains heal very well with conservative treatment of rest, cold and compression. Physical therapy and rehabilitation are essential and the mainstay of treatment.

Treatment with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) for some muscle injuries appears to benefit the healing process. 

Physical therapy

Once the initial pain and swelling have subsided, physical therapy can begin. Specific exercises can restore range of motion and strength.

A therapy program focuses first on flexibility. Gentle stretching will improve your range of motion. As healing progresses, strengthening exercises will gradually be added to your program. Your doctor will discuss with you when it is safe to return to sports activity.

Most people who sustain a hamstring injury will recover completely after completing a rehabilitation plan, although it is an area prone to injury recurrence. 

Surgery is most often performed for avulsion injuries of the tendon and are less frequent, where the tendon has moved completely away from the bone.


After surgery, it should be kept in discharge to protect the repair. In addition to using crutches, you may need a brace to keep your hamstring in a relaxed position.

Rehabilitation for proximal hamstring reinsertion usually takes at least 6 months, due to the severity of the injury.

Where do we treat it?


The Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Traumatology
of the Clínica Universidad de Navarra

The Department of Orthopedic Surgery and Traumatology covers the full spectrum of congenital or acquired conditions of the musculoskeletal system including trauma and its aftermath.

Since 1986, the Clinica Universidad de Navarra has had an excellent bank of osteotendinous tissue for bone grafting and offers the best therapeutic alternatives.

Organized in care units

Imagen de la fachada de consultas de la sede en Pamplona de la Clínica Universidad de Navarra

Why at the Clinica?

  • Experts in arthroscopic surgery.
  • Highly qualified professionals who perform pioneering techniques to solve traumatological injuries.
  • One of the centers with the most experience in bone tumors.

Our team of professionals