Glendale Adventist Medical Center - Adventist Health
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Hamstring Strain

The hamstring muscles are located in the back of the thigh. Strains in this area commonly occur in athletes who participate in sports that require sprinting--such as football, soccer or track.

Muscle overload is the main cause of hamstring strain, which occurs when the hamstring muscle is loaded with body weight as well as the force required to push the body forward. Muscle tightness, poor conditioning and muscle imbalance, such as when one muscle gorup is much stronger than the other, can also be contributing factors to hamstring strain.


  • A sudden, sharp pain in the back of the thigh
  • Swelling during the first few hours after injury
  • Bruising or discoloration
  • Weakness in the hamstring


An orthopedic specialist, sports medicine specialist, or other physician can help determine if you have a hamstring strain. If needed, he/she will recommend imaging tests, such as X-ray or MRI, to determine the extent or severity of the injury.


Treatment of a hamstring strain will vary depending on the severity of your injury, how active you are and how quickly you need get back on your feet. The goal of treatment is to get you back to doing the activities you enjoy as quickly as possible.

For less severe cases of hamstring strain, treatment includes:

  • RICE - Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation
  • Immobilization
  • Physical therapy

A physical therapy program can be presribed by your doctor and will include exercises to heal and strengthen the muscle, as well as the muscles surrounding the injury for added support. The physical therapists at GAMC's Therapy & Wellness Center are experienced in rehabilitating hamstring injuries and will able to create a personalized plan tailored to your individuals goals.

For more severe cases, surgery may be necessary. Only your doctor will be able to make that determination.

For a referral to a GAMC orthopedic or sports medicine specialist, call (818) 409-8100. To learn more about the Therapy & Wellness Center, call (323) 255-5409.