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Pulled Hamstring
(Hamstring Injury)

Hamstring Overview

The hamstrings are a collection of three muscles located in the back of the thigh that are responsible for bending or flexing the knee. The semitendinosus, the semimembranosus, and the biceps femoris begin as a tendon that inserts in the ischium, one of the pelvic bones, and run the length of the femur, crossing the back of the knee to attach to the tibia and fibula. A small portion of the hamstring muscle also spans across the hip joint and is involved in hip extension. The hamstring muscle fibers gradually become tendon fibers near the knee to attach to bone. One can appreciate the thick tendon bands when feeling behind the knee joint.

The hamstring muscle is balanced by the quadriceps muscles that are located on the front of the thigh and cause the knee to extend. Together the hamstrings and the quadriceps help control power and stability of the knee joint, allowing activities like walking, running, jumping, and squatting.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/5/2014

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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Pulled Hamstring:

Pulled Hamstring - Causes

How did you sustain your pulled hamstring injury?

Pulled Hamstring - Treatment

What treatment did you receive for your pulled hamstring?

A pulled hamstring can be a painful injury not only to an athlete, but also for the regular weekend warrior.

Pulled Hamstring: A Pain Real Pain in the Leg!

Pulled Hamstring Treatment

The initial treatment of a pulled hamstring is RICE

  • rest,
  • ice,
  • compression, and
  • elevation.

Compression is especially important to try to minimize swelling and bleeding into the muscle. By initially resting the muscle, the amount of spasm and scarring can be minimized. Ultimately, the leg needs to move, and walking has to be accomplished. The job of the health care practitioner, physical therapist, or chiropractor, is to balance muscle healing with range of motion and flexibility to heal the injury. A variety of treatment options can be used to help heal the muscle such as stretching, massage, therapeutic ultrasound, and electrical stimulation.

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