Hamstring Injuries: Episode 74
In this episode: We discuss hamstring injuries more broadly. The difference between grade I, II & III tears. Expected recovery times for each as well as muscle belly versus tendon injuries.
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Trivia question of the week: How many muscles in an elephant’s trunk? – (13:42)
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Brief overview of the episode:
Hamstring injuries you hear about strains, tears, pulls, tendonitis, tendonosis, ruptures and avulsions. The general signs and symptoms are going to be pain in the back of the thigh. Typically this is sharp and sudden during an activity (sports, slips and falls). This will be followed by days of soreness, likely bruising, weakness, tenderness, and difficulty weight bearing or walking. Usually the first few steps after sitting will be the most uncomfortable. In high-grade cases sitting itself will be uncomfortable.
Anatomically the hamstrings are comprised of the semimembranosus and semitendinosus on the medial aspect of the posterior thigh and the biceps femoris on the lateral aspect. The semimembranosus and semitendinosus will feel like a single muscle when palpated. Injuries can occur to all three. Because there are three distinct muscle there an injury to 1 will not prevent active knee flexion. It will weaken it and make it painful.
Tears will be graded based on severity. Grade I tears are more mild and are often called strains. Grade II tears will be partial thickness tears and Grade III tears will be full thickness tears or ruptures.
Grade I tears will heal within 3 weeks in most cases. Grade II tears can take up to 3 months and Grade III tears can be 9 months or longer. The greatest risk factor in sustaining a hamstring injury is a prior hamstring injury. Therefor it is important to take your time to full recovery from any hamstring injury.
In most cases an injury to your hamstring is a result of a muscle imbalance. Either there is meaningful difference between your quadriceps strength and hamstring strength or, more likely, there is a weakness with hip abduction and/or external rotation. These muscle imbalances will cause the hamstring to over work and result in the injury.
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