Have you strained your hamstring recently? Must read article!

This blog post is essential for those who have recently strained or "pulled" a hamstring muscle. Here we'll cover the common causes, types of strain, include what's to be expected and what needs to be accomplished in the early, mid and end stages of the rehabilitation process.

Causes/Mechanism of injury:

Hamstring strains are generally caused by an excessive load or stretch to the hamstring muscle. These mechanisms cause a high amount of stress placed through the hamstrings, resulting in damage to the muscular fibres.

Hamstring strains are common in sports involving jumping, quick decelerating and accelerating, kicking and sprinting.

Check out the hamstring anatomy picture below! Did you know there are in fact 3 different hamstring muscles?

Hamstring strains can generally be characterised into 3 grades:


Grade I

Grade II

Grade II

Amount of fibres damaged

Few fibres damaged

Approx 1/2 the fibres have been damages/torn

More than 1/2 the fibres are ruptured/torn


Potentially affected

Likely affected acutely

Highly likely affected


Pain may be present at the site of the strain at rest, and worse on palpation

Pain felt at the time of the injury. Likely pain at the site of the strain, worse on palpation and with gait.

Pain felt at the time of injury, pain at the side of the tear, worse on palpation, pain with gait

Hamstring strength when being tested by a therapist

Likely to be weak and potentially causing pain to the site of strain

Moderate amounts of weakness and pain

Large amounts of weakness and pain


Potential (depending on the person)

Likely, but depends on the person

Highly likely + swelling

Phase 1 - Early Management

Rehab Goals


Promote healing of the damaged tissue

Rest and appropriate loading of structures

Reduce strength loss

Continue use of adjacent muscles

Maintain range of motion

Continue use of adjacent joints

Avoid dysfunctional gait pattern


Avoid excessive lengthening of the hamstrings