Hamstring Strain / Tear

What is a Hamstring Strain?

What is a hamstring? It isn’t actually a single ”string.” It’s a group of three muscles that run along the back of your thigh and they allow you to bend your leg at the knee. During a hamstring strain, one or more of these muscles gets overloaded. This overload might also lead to a hamstring tear.

Cause and Symptoms

You’re likely to get a hamstring strain during activities that involve a lot of running and jumping or sudden stopping and starting. A mild hamstring strain or tear may not hurt too much. But some can be very painful, depending on the severity of the strain/tear. It may also be hard to stand or walk. Other symptoms may include:

  • Sudden and severe pain during exercise, along with a snapping or popping feeling
  • Pain in the back of the thigh and lower buttock when walking, straightening the leg, or bending over
  • Tenderness
  • Bruising


Minor to moderate hamstring strains usually heal on their own. Use the RICE principle to speed up the healing process: Rest (avoid putting weight on the leg), Ice (to reduce swelling and pain), Compression (use an elastic bandage around your leg) and Elevation (put your leg on a pillow when you’re sitting or lying down). After the acute phase it’s good to start with some stretches and light strength exercises. It’s recommended to allow your physiotherapist to help with this process.

1. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/hamstring-strain#1
2. https://www.northsidesportsmed.com.au/articles/2019/5/10/understanding-hamstring-strains