Hamstring injuries: you prefer to prevent them

hamstring injuries

If you watch sports regularly, you’ve definitely seen it ‘live’ before: hamstring injuries. An athlete who suddenly stops in the middle of the sprint and grabs his leg. Or a footballer who cannot continue after a tackle and must be helped to the side.

Hamstring injuries are very common, they are painful and take a long time to recover. But what exactly is the hamstring and how do you prevent injuries and how can they be treated?

What is the hamstring?

The hamstring is not one muscle, it is a combination of 3 different muscles at the back of your thigh. They run from your bump to your knee and are attached there on the outer sides and in the center.

In medical science, the muscles are referred to as them. Biceps femoris, them. Semitendinosus and the m. Semimembranosus. This group of muscles is heavily loaded during walking, especially sprinting. The number of injuries is quite high with intensive sports. Only rarely in daily activities.

How to Prevent Hamstring Injuries

As with all muscles, training is of course the way to make the hamstring stronger and more flexible. A good warm-up for a sprint is therefore a necessity. Stretching and stretching to warm up the muscles before exercise can reduce the risk.

However, it is often an unusual or unexpected movement that tears or damages the hamstring. The athlete who does not suit his steps or the footballer who sees a tackle coming towards him and makes a last attempt to avoid it.

What sports are common hamstring injuries?

In professional football, nearly 20% of all injuries are hamstring tears. This also occurs regularly in athletics and hockey. The pain is then in the middle of the thigh, a sign that one of the three muscles has a tear.

The most common cause is starting a sprint. Damage to the hamstring, with pain mainly in the buttock, is more common in gymnastics, martial arts, and also ballet. A movement that is not performed properly is usually the cause of the injury.

What hamstring injuries are there?

There are three types of hamstring injuries:


This is the least serious form of possible injury. A few muscle fibers have been torn and some fibers have been slightly damaged. The area usually turns blue and the pain is localized to a specific area of ​​the thigh. The leg becomes stiff and painful.


A large number of muscle fibers are torn and the injury is more serious. The pain cannot be clearly identified because the entire thigh continues to hurt.

Often there is also a bruise over a large area. The leg is stiff and painful and walking is next to impossible. Unfortunately, sometimes surgery is required to repair the damage.

Tear off

It is rare, but in extreme cases, one or even more of the hamstring muscles can completely tear. The shape of the muscle will then completely change because, in fact, the same thing happens as elastic that snaps. Walking is not possible with a torn hamstring and surgery is always necessary.

Treatment of a pulled hamstring

If it is found that your hamstring has been strained, you will actually immediately see a physiotherapist. It is not the case that only rest ensures recovery.

Very soon after the diagnosis, you can start with a number of targeted exercises that strengthen the muscle and do not cause further damage. The combination of rest and exercise can make recovery much faster.

The severity of the injury determines the duration of the rehabilitation. Proper treatment with an experienced physiotherapist can shorten the duration by up to 3 weeks.

Treatment of a torn hamstring

The severity of a ruptured hamstring sometimes needs to be assessed by an MRI scan. Surgery is often necessary for extremely serious injuries. Afterward, you will also be treated by a physiotherapist.

The physiotherapist tries to get the muscles up to standard as quickly as possible with a combination of several actions. Certainly, at a later age, there is a risk of a chronic injury with less good rehabilitation. Rehabilitation can take from a few weeks to 3 months.

Treatment of a torn hamstring

Fortunately, this injury is very rare. Immediate hospitalization is necessary where specialist doctors have to assess the case. In the Netherlands, you will end up at the AMC.

Little is clear about treatment and rehabilitation because this injury is so rare. It is clear that the chance of a full recovery is not self-evident.


  • Hamstring injuries in non-professional athletes are much more common in later life. Extra caution is then required. Just like keep moving!
  • If you have a shortened hamstring, regular daytime stretching is a good option. About 20 seconds per movement.
  • Do a good warm-up every time you exercise and build up the intensity of your training.
  • Wear the right clothes in cooler temperatures to protect your muscles.
  • If you notice that you are extra sensitive to sports injuries, visit a physiotherapist. Perhaps there is a cause to be discovered.
  • Never wait too long to have an injury examined or treated. A chronic injury can seriously spoil your sports pleasure.

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