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Pulled Hamstring (cont.)

What Causes a Pulled Hamstring (Hamstring Injury)?

A pulled hamstring is a strain of one or more of the hamstring muscles. Muscle fibers of the hamstring can become strained or torn during running, kicking, or even walking down steps. When a hamstring muscle is pulled, the muscle fibers are abruptly stretched. Depending on the severity of the strain injury, the muscle can actually tear and many people can hear and feel an audible "pop" when the muscle is damaged.

The hamstring pull may occur anywhere along the muscle tendon anatomy, however it most commonly occurs in the middle of the hamstring muscle.

As people age, the tendon can be injured where it inserts into the ischial tuberosity in the pelvis and cause groin or hip symptoms. On occasion, the tendon injury can pull a small part of bone away from the pelvic bone where the tendon inserts.

Avulsion injuries often occur with a quick muscle contraction during a burst of speed. This occurs in activities like ice skating, weightlifting, or skiing.

There are a variety of potential risk factors for hamstring injuries.

  • Inadequate warming up and poor stretching
  • Muscle weakness or an imbalance in the muscle strength within the hamstring muscles
  • Muscle weakness or an imbalance between the hamstrings and quadriceps
  • Poor footwear
  • Recurrent injury when the muscle hasn't completely healed from previous damage
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/11/2015

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