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What is Hamstring Strain?

The hamstrings muscle group (posterior thigh) is comprised of three muscles: biceps femoris, semitendinosus and semimembranosis. Hamstring strain can come on suddenly often when over striding or when the muscle is forcibly lengthening (sudden take off) or can build up over a period of time due to fatigue or weakness. Often there may be associated back, hip or pelvic problems that underpin your hamstring injury. An experienced practitioner can determine what is contributing to your hamstring injury to ensure you receive the best management. Untreated, hamstring pain can lead to reoccurring injury as well as prolong recovery time.

How long will it last?

An acute simple Hamstring Strain can settle and you can make a return to sport if a concerted program has been completed over 3 weeks. A more complex hamstring tear (Grd 2 & 3) will take from 6-10 weeks for recovery and training parameters must be met for exercise progression. If your Practitioner finds that there are contributing factors from your hip or spine then recovery may take longer and a program may need to be followed for your sporting season. Resting hamstring strain without a specific strengthening/running conditioning program may lead to re injury. Factors contributing in AFL football to hamstring strain are previous injury, and your age being over 24 years.


The symptoms of Hamstring Strain are:

  • Sudden sharp pain at the back of the thigh.
  • Immediate loss of power.
  • Pain with walking in the acute phase. This should ease within the week with treatment.
  • Pain increasing while sitting (often if there is the back is involved).
  • Increasing pain and ‘tightness’ if leaning forward or bending.

Suggestions for managing Hamstring Strain

  • Icing in the acute stage and after your rehabilitation / hamstring training program.
  • Hamstring exercise programs can commence within the first 72 hours of your injury. Hip / Gluteal stability exercises are useful to strengthen the hip and pelvic muscles to assist in the overall conditioning of the muscles that help your hamstring. These need specific and careful instruction. We recommend an Individual Assessment of how to perform the correct hamstring strengthening exercise program. Exercise Physiology or Pilates programs may be recommended for conditioning your hamstring for full recovery.
  • Your practitioner may refer you to a Sports Physician for further investigations if your Hamstring Strain does not respond in our suggested time frames.

Professional treatment options

Contact us now for immediate advice regarding Hamstring Strain