Hamstring Injuries and Rehab

How long does it take to recover from a Hamstring Injury?

A hamstring injury is a strain, tear or pain at the back of the thigh or below the buttocks.
A common injury in sports and can occur in different grades.
The 3 grades of hamstring injury are:
  • grade 1 – a mild muscle strain or pull
  • grade 2 – a partial muscle tear
  • grade 3 – a complete muscle tear

The recovery time of a hamstring strain or tear will depend on how severe the injury is, depending on its grade and the individual. A grade 1 may take a few days to a week to heal, whereas grade 2 and 3 anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to recover from a muscle tear.

What are the Hamstring muscles?

Hamstring muscles have their origin, where their tendons attach to bone.

The ischial tuberosity of the hip (often called the sitting bones) and the linea aspera of the femur.

The hamstring tendons flank the space behind the knee. The most medial muscle, the semimembranosus, inserts on the medial condyle of the tibia bone.

The semitendinosus inserts on the superior part of the medial tibia. The most lateral hamstring, the biceps femoris, inserts on the lateral side of the fibula. They are innervated by the sciatic nerve.

What causes Hamstring injuries?

A hamstring injury can occur when any of the tendons or muscles are over stretched beyond their limit or range.

Occurring during sharp, explosive movements, such as jumping, sprinting or power lifting. Injuries can also occur over time or during slower movements that overstretch your hamstring.

Sports people who have recurring hamstring issues, have more than likely had previous hamstring problems.

What are the symptoms of a Hamstring injury?

Symptoms of hamstring injuries after examination usually reveal spasms, tightness, and tenderness.

The more severe injuries, may incur swelling with black and blue or bruised appearance that will follow. In some cases, a palpable defect (detectable by touching) will be present in the muscle. Tears and strains most often occur at the middle of the back of the thigh where the muscle joins its tendon or at the origin of the hamstring at the base of the buttocks (at the ischium).

Grade 1 – usually cause sudden pain and tenderness the back of your thigh. It may be painful to move your leg, but the strength of the muscle shouldn’t be affected.

Grade 2 – are usually more painful and tender. There may be some swelling and bruising at the back of your thigh and loss of strength.

Grade 3 – is usually very painful, tender, swollen and bruised. There may have been a “popping” sensation at the time of the injury and you’ll be unable to use the affected leg.

What treatment is best for hamstring injury?

During the first 48 hours, you should care for your injury using the principals of RICE:

  • Rest – keep your leg as still as you possibly can and avoid movement.
  • Ice – apply cold therapy packs (Physicool) to your hamstring for up to 20 minutes every 2 to 3 hours during the day. Don’t apply ice directly to your skin.
  • Compression – compress or bandage (Physicool) the thigh to limit any swelling and movement that could cause further damage.
  • Elevation – keep your leg raised and supported on a pillow as much as possible, to help reduce any swelling.

Some will recommend regular painkillers and anti inflammation tablets.  But we recommend a drug free approach using Painpro™ (electronic muscle stimulator)

Painpro™ modes

Early stages injury treatment

Taking advantage of electronic muscle stimulator.

Mode 1 Pain relief – low and high frequency TENS; adjust intensity for a preferred comfortable intensity.


Mode 12 cell repair – PainPro™ also incorporates Microcurrent Technology.  Microcurrent has been the subject of multiple scientific research projects and is now regarded to be at the cutting edge of electrotherapy treatment.  By applying current at a specific intensity and frequency, the body can be “tricked” into significantly boosting Adenosine TriPhosphate (ATP) levels.  The process behind this is complex, but the outcome is simple:  Increased ATP levels means you can heal much quicker.  Studies have seen ATP levels boosted by over 400% – and healing times accelerated by up to 200%

Exercise & rehab stage

Taking advantage of These cold therapy packs ideal for Arthritis, post surgery, knee pain and inflammation.

Mode 10 Muscle/ strength build – By using Electrical Muscle Stimulation (EMS)which has been routinely used in elite level sport for many years and is widely recognised (and medically proven) to significantly improve recovery from training or injury, enhance strength gains and promote muscular development.


When can i stretch or exercise after a hamstring injury?

Once the hamstring is pain free you can get back to gentle activity and stretching. Try not to do strenuous exercise too quickly this could make your injury worse, but avoiding exercise for too long can cause your hamstring muscles to shrink and scar tissue to form around the tear.

To avoid this, you should start some gentle stretches to get the length back into the hamstrings.

This should be followed by a programme of gentle exercise, such as walking and cycling or swimming, and hamstring strengthening exercises.

hamstring stretch

Check out our latest videos on our JDB Health youtube channel.

How can I avoid Hamstring injuries?

First of all start by strengthening the two opposing muscle groups, hamstrings and the quadriceps.

The hamstring is responsible for hip extension and knee flexion, while the quadriceps is responsible for the opposite actions of hip flexion and knee extension. Both of these muscle groups also stabilize the knee joint, especially during sporting activities.

Hamstrings are the smaller of the two muscle groups, generally being the more weaker with the quads being more dominant, therefore should spend more time on hamstring strength work to prevent injuries, as hamstrings will be more at risk to injury.

Good strength programmes should concentrate specifically on strengthening the hamstring muscles, improving the flexibility of your quadriceps muscles, and strengthening your core.

  • Romanian Dead-lift (RDL) – hamstring
  • Dead-bug – core exercise
  • stretching the quads

How do I use a trigger ball on my Hamstrings?

Having tight hamstrings can limit your mobility. Releasing them will increase your range of motion without causing you to lose strength.

Using a foam roller can sometimes not be as precise as a rigger ball, you can target smaller areas and pin any tight spots in the muscle.  Unlike other muscles where the individual heads are closer together, the hamstrings run farther apart along the femur. This is where the trigger ball is useful, it can get in between each hamstring head, where as the foam roller will miss this.

What is the best exercise for hamstrings?

Hamstrings are arguably the most important muscle group in athletes

Most people think hamstrings only serve one function: knee flexion. Hamstrings having multiple functions such as; hip extension, which is vital for explosiveness, sprinting, jumping, and even low-back health.

Dead Lift

Have your feet flat on the floor, bend at the knees and grab the bar with hands shoulder-width apart.

  • Stand close enough to bar so your mid-foot under the barbell
  • Bend over and grab the bar with arms shoulder-width apart
  • Bend your knees until your shins touch the bar
  • Lift your chest up and straighten your lower back
  • Now stand up holding the bar maintaining good form.

Assisted Nordic hamstring curls

  • Have someone help by securing your ankles firmly while you engage your core.
  • Deep breath then as slow as possible begin to lower yourself to the ground maintaining a neutral spine and a straight body as possible, maintaining a engaged core..
  • Avoid flexing your spine.
  • Once you fail or reach the ground, press yourself up to the starting position and repeat.

Single Leg Deadlift

  1. Start by firmly placing your foot into the ground to maintain a stabilized position.
  2. Now slowly hinge at your hips, forcing the backwards, while also hinging your knee until you have a flat back. ( with No rounding of the back)
    Your moving leg should be straight out behind you,as straight as possible to keep your spine aligned. The higher your back leg goes, the lower your chest goes, being careful to never let your chest drop lower than your hips.
  3. As you start to hinge back and sit in to the single deadlift position, feel for the weight that is placed right outside your stabilizing foot.
  4. Now pick up the weight, make sure your shoulder is pulled back so your lat engages properly during the entire movement.
  5. Hinge your hip forward while bringing the weight with you. Lock out your stabilizing leg and squeeze your glute.