A strain is when a muscle becomes overstretched and tears. This painful injury is also called a "pulled muscle."
If you have strained your hamstring, you have pulled one or more of the muscles on the back of your upper leg (thigh).
There are 3 levels of hamstring strains:
Recovery time depends on the grade of the injury. A minor grade 1 injury can heal in a few days, while a grade 3 injury could take much longer to heal or need surgery.
You can expect swelling, tenderness, and pain after a hamstring strain. Walking may be painful.
To help your hamstring muscle heal, you may need:
Symptoms, such as pain and soreness, may last:
If the injury is very close to the buttock or knee or there is a lot of bruising:
Follow these steps for the first few days or weeks after your injury:
For pain, you can use ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), or acetaminophen (Tylenol). You can buy these pain medicines at the store.
When your pain has decreased enough, you can begin light stretching and light physical activity. Make sure your provider knows.
Slowly increase your physical activity, such as walking. Follow the exercises your provider gave you. As your hamstring heals and gets stronger, you can add more stretches and exercises.
Take care not to push yourself too hard or too fast. A hamstring strain can recur, or your hamstring may tear.
Talk to your provider before returning to work or any physical activity. Returning to normal activity too early can cause re-injury.
Follow up with your provider one to two weeks after your injury. Based on your injury, your provider may want to see you more than once during the healing process.
Call your provider if:
For any orthopedic sports medicine condition, including hip-specific issues, call 1-855-NH-SPORT to schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic sports medicine specialists.