At Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine, our doctors, who specialize in pain management and restoration of function, often treat patients who have suffered hamstring injuries. These injuries, though usually resolved within weeks, can be very painful and debilitating, and may recur if not treated properly. In almost all cases, hamstring injuries can be treated successfully with our holistic, nonsurgical methods.
Why Hamstring Muscles Are Especially at Risk of Injury
One reason the hamstrings are injured so frequently is that these muscles, which work in conjunction with (and sometimes in opposition to) the quadriceps, can be harmed when these two muscles are out of balance with one another.
When the quads, the muscles in the front of the thigh, are much stronger than the three hamstrings muscles at the back of the thigh, a forward swing of the lower leg can exert too much pressure on the hamstring, straining or tearing it.
This muscle imbalance is especially common in football players as demonstrated by the fact that at least one notable player seems to be benched by a hamstring injury each football season. Those who play other sports that involve sprinting and sudden stops — such as soccer, basketball or tennis — are also at risk for hamstring injuries, as are runners or dancers who frequently stretch their muscles beyond normal limits.
Symptoms of Hamstring Injuries Are Hard to Miss
When an athlete suffers a hamstring injury, it is usually apparent to fans, even those high up in the bleachers. The grimace of sharp pain and inability to walk or even stand are hard to miss.
Victims of a hamstring injury experience sudden, agonizing pain in the back of the thigh. They may also feel a popping sensation — a result of the muscles suddenly tearing. Swelling, tenderness, and weakness soon occur, as do weakness, bruising, and inability to put weight on the affected leg.
When Hamstring Injuries Require Medical Intervention
When home remedies like rest, the elevation of the affected leg, ice packs, and over-the-counter pain medications don’t do the trick, and you continue to be unable to put weight on the injured leg, it’s time to contact a skilled physiatrist. You need a trained professional to make sure the diagnosis is correct and to tackle your symptoms with more aggressive treatments.
It should be noted that prematurely returning to activities that stress the hamstrings may cause the injury to recur and that an individual who has sustained one hamstring injury is at greater risk of suffering another.
How Long Island Spine Rehabilitation Medicine Can Help
Our highly trained team of physiatrists has a well-earned reputation for precise diagnosis as well as a broad range of successful therapies for musculoskeletal injuries. Our careful physical examination, imaging tests (X-rays, ultrasound, MRIs) will usually be sufficient to verify a hamstring tear.
However, our diagnosticians are cautious, aware that you may have more than one problem, or that there is another underlying cause for your pain. You can trust us to administer or perform any other diagnostic test we feel is necessary, such as a blood test to rule out a previously undetected disease condition or electromyography (EMG) to pick up a problem with your nerves.
Variety of Treatment Options
The most essential aspect of treating a hamstring injury is keeping weight off the injured leg. We will provide you the necessary compression bandages or shorts to minimize swelling and the assistive devices (cane or crutches) to enable you to avoid further stressing your hamstrings. It is, of course, crucial that you refrain from engaging in any strenuous activities until your injury has healed.
We will also provide you, once the initial pain and swelling have subsided, with physical therapy, customized to your particular needs. Our goal is always to reduce pain and to increase range of motion, so our physical therapists will show you specific exercises to improve your flexibility and strengthen your hamstring muscles to avoid a recurrence of this painful injury.
If we discover any other musculoskeletal problem, we can offer you a wide range of therapeutic options to relieve pain and inflammation and improve function, including acupuncture, platelet-rich plasma (PRP), pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMF), and corticosteroid injections.
Contact Our Experienced Pain Management Specialists Today
Don’t be hamstrung by your hamstring injury. We’ll have you up and running in no time. Call our office today.