Surprisingly the hamstring muscles are not very active when you’re walking or standing, but they play an extremely important role in other activities. The hamstring muscle has long been known as one of importance, even in ancient times. Knights used to slice their enemies across the backs of their thighs with a sword, rendering them immobile. Prisoners were also subjected to similar treatment to hinder escape attempts!
Hamstrings are the tendons that attach to the muscles at the backs of your thighs, and hamstring muscles are the large muscles that pull on these tendons. They allow you to straighten your hips and bend your knees; and are vital in activities such as running, jumping, and climbing.
Hamstring injuries are muscle injuries, and range from a minor strain to a severe rupture, with a grading of I, II, and III. Grade I is minor, II is a partial rupture, and III is a complete rupture. An injury can occur over time from overuse, or from one sudden movement.
Grade I injuries can heal on their own and cause minimal aggravation, especially in those who don’t actively use those muscles. Grade II and III injuries are usually caused by vigorous activities. For an athlete, a grade III rupture can sometimes mean the end of their career.
When you experience a strain or rupture, you may notice a sudden jerking or a ‘pop’, followed by pain. Spasms, tightness, swelling, and bruising may develop. It is very important to treat and repair your hamstring injury correctly to avoid re-injury. Home remedies such as rest, ice, compression, and elevation, (RICE), may provide some relief. Splinting and crutches may also be necessary for severe strains. Your chiropractor may examine your feet, knees, hips, pelvis and lower back, as imbalances in these areas can all contribute to hamstring injuries.
You may not realise the importance of hamstrings until you injure them. Spend time stretching and warming up before you exercise, and take care not to overwork them.