Hamstring Injury (cont.)
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
In this Article
- Hamstring injury facts
- What are the hamstrings?
- What is the function of the hamstrings?
- What causes hamstring injuries, and what are types of hamstring injuries?
- What are risk factors for hamstring injury?
- What are symptoms and signs of injury to the hamstring muscles?
- What specialties of doctors treat hamstring injuries?
- How do health-care professionals diagnose hamstring injuries?
- What are home remedies for hamstring injury?
- What is the treatment for hamstring injuries?
- Is it possible to prevent a hamstring injury?
- What is the prognosis for hamstring injuries?
- Where can one find more information about hamstring injuries?
- Find a local Orthopedic Surgeon in your town
What is the treatment for hamstring injuries?
Most hamstring injuries heal without surgery. Rarely, when there is a complete rupture at the ischium, or when a significant piece of ischial bone is jerked away, surgery is necessary. Essentially, all other grade I-III tears are best treated without surgery.
As soon as pain permits, it is important to begin a program of stretching and range-of-motion rehabilitation exercises because prolonged immobilization and inactivity results in muscle shrinkage (atrophy) and scar tissue (fibrosis). Excessive scar tissue is incompatible with healthy muscle function. Atrophy and fibrosis are best avoided or reduced by a program of motion and stretching implemented early in the rehabilitation process.
It should be emphasized that an early rehabilitation program does not mean a quick return to the desired usual activity. Given the type of individual that usually sustains a significant hamstring injury, it is usually a difficult task to keep athletic patients off the playing field. Reinjury is extremely common and is often due to avoidable premature return to sport. Reinjury not only prolongs recovery, it also increases the risk of permanent damage. People with these injuries should be informed early in the rehabilitation program about the risks of reinjury.
After pain and swelling have been controlled and acceptable range of motion and flexibility has been attained, a gradual strengthening program should follow. After adequate strength has returned, then a gradual return to the desired activity is attempted. Full return is usually possible only after maximal flexibility and optimal strength have been obtained. Depending on the severity of injury, the entire rehabilitative process may take several months. Physical therapists can assist in guiding the exercise program.
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