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Pulled Hamstring Symptoms, Treatment, and Recovery

What Is a Hamstring Injury?

One moment the runner is gliding down the track, the next he is collapsed in a heap clutching his thigh, writhing in pain. Another dream lost because of a pulled hamstring. While a pulled "hammy" is often thought of as an athlete's injury, it can happen to even the most unfit of us. While professional athletes suffer injuries in front of huge crowds, and millions more see the pain in slow motion on television, few people are there to watch you trip on a step.

The hamstrings are a group of muscles located in the back of the thigh. The function of these muscles are to flex the knee and extend the hip. The quadriceps muscles on the front of the thigh extend the knee and flex the hip. When we walk or run, the knee extends, and the leg stretches to reach the ground. When the foot reaches the ground, the knee flexes and pushes the body forward. The quadriceps and the hamstrings need to be coordinated for walking to take place. As the foot is stroking the ground, the hamstrings have to extend the hip to allow the other leg room to begin moving. At this point in the stride, the hamstrings are full stretch and can tear. A pull, strain, or tear, means the same thing: fibers in the muscle are stretched apart - causing pain, swelling, and bleeding.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/11/2017

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