Imagine preparing for the trip of your life, only to injure yourself just days before. That was the case for Katrina Burns, who had been anticipating her long-awaited vacation.
“I had been planning a trip out west for nearly a year,” says Katrina. “Ten days out, I severely pulled [my] hamstring and couldn’t even stand, let alone even think about hiking.”
A hamstring tear, also known as a hamstring strain or pull, is a common injury in runners. It happens when the back leg muscles that connect to the thigh are injured.
Other common causes and risks factors for hamstring tears include:
- Having poor flexibility
- Having one leg that’s a different length than the other
- Lack of muscle strength
- Muscle fatigue
- Not warming up properly before exercising
- Having tight hip flexors or weak glutes
You may also be at risk of developing a hamstring injury if you’re an older adult or have suffered a hamstring pull before.
How do I know if I have a hamstring tear?
The best way to diagnose a hamstring tear is by visiting a doctor or someone who specializes in orthopedics. They will determine the severity of the tear which can be classified as:
- Grade 1 —the muscle fibers are stretched out but not torn
- Grade 2 — there is a partial tear in the muscle tendons or fibers
- Grade 3 — the muscle or tendon are completely torn
Hamstring tear treatments
Getting fast treatment for a hamstring tear is critical for the healing process. If a strain is mild enough, you may be able to use the R.I.C.E (rest, ice, compression, elevation) method.
For those like Katrina who may have a more severe injury, physical therapy, braces or platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection may be recommended.
While rest and physical therapy played a big role in Katrina’s recovery, she specifically commends Jenny and Colleen, both physical therapists at Mercy Health – Liberty Falls, for the outstanding care they provided to help get her ready for her trip.
“Both ladies did such an amazing job helping me get to a place where I could not only sit on a plane for five hours but enjoy a mass ascension of 500 hot air balloons in Albuquerque, as well as sunset and sunrise on the Grand Canyon,” says Katrina. “I could never have enjoyed this trip without their expertise and care.”
If you or a loved one has a pulled hamstring or other orthopedic injury, our team at Mercy Health is here for you. Schedule an appointment with one of our primary care doctors or orthopedic teams who will provide compassionate care to you.