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Located in the back of the leg, the hamstring is made up of three muscles that connect at the pelvis and the lower leg. Injuries to the hamstring typically cause a sudden, sharp pain in the back of the thigh area and are most common in athletes who participate in sports heavy in running or powerful accelerations and decelerations.
The symptoms of a hamstring injury depend on the severity of the damage to the muscles. Mild symptoms include muscle stiffness, soreness, and tightness in the back of the thigh. While severe symptoms include pain even while resting that becomes worse with movement, noticeable swelling, and difficulty walking without assistance, the most recognizable severe symptom is intense pain when extending the knee.
To safeguard yourself from hamstring injuries, it is important to understand the possible causes of injury, such as poor flexibility, poor muscle strength, muscle fatigue, history of hamstring injuries, and overuse.
To prevent hamstring injuries, it is important to warm-up and stretch before a workout. Be sure to stretch after working out as well so the muscles have a chance to loosen while they are still warm. Also, try to avoid doing too much, too soon.
Several treatment options exist for hamstring injuries but depend on the severity of the injury. The most severe injuries require evaluation and treatment by a specialist. However, less severe hamstring strains may be treated with rest, ice, stretching, and anti-inflammatory medications.