Hamstring Tear: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and More!

Runner with a torn hamstring


Hamstring strains are a common condition that our orthopedic surgeons treat here at Elite Sports Medicine. Learn about different types of hamstring injuries, symptoms, treatment options, and more!


What Type of Hamstring Injury do I Have?

There are three grades of hamstring injuries that vary from mild to severe:

Grade I: This is the mildest hamstring injury. A grade I hamstring strain may feel like sudden pain in the back of the leg. Typical recovery time for this strain is a few days to a week, making sure to rest and ice the hamstring.

Grade II: This occurs when there is a partial tear in the hamstring. A partial hamstring tear may feel like pain in the back of the thigh, popping, and inability to straighten the leg. Grade II hamstring strains may take anywhere from 1-2 months to heal.

Grade III: This type of injury is a complete tear to the hamstring, and it is the most severe of the three grades. With a grade III tear, you will have sharp pain in the back of the leg, severe bruising, and the inability to walk. Recovery from a Grade III tear may take around 3 months to heal.


What Does a Torn Hamstring Feel Like?

The symptoms that you feel when you strain your hamstring will vary depending on severity of the injury. Most of the time, you with feel a sharp or sudden pain in the back of the leg. With more severe injuries, you may even feel popping, see bruising, or you may be unable to walk or bend your leg.


What Causes a Pulled Hamstring?

A pulled hamstring often occurs when sudden twists or stops are made. This is why we commonly see athletes come in with a torn hamstring.


Who is Most Likely to get a Hamstring Tear?

Anyone can get a torn hamstring, but athletes are the most likely to experience this condition. Any sport that involves running with sudden stops and twists may cause a hamstring tear. Soccer, basketball, football, tennis, dance, and track are often the sports that cause this injury.


How is a Pulled Hamstring Treated?

Treatment for a pulled hamstring will vary on the severity of the strain. If the strain is mild, treatment may just be RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation.)

If the hamstring strain is more severe, seek the help of one of our hamstring doctors in Nashville. Our surgeons may recommend RICE, medication, physical therapy, and surgery as a last resort.


Does a Hamstring Tear Require Surgery?

A torn hamstring does not always require surgery. At Elite Sports Medicine, our goal is to provide you with the best conversative treatment before evaluating surgery as an option.

If you have a severe hamstring tear, or conservative treatment is not helping your injury, surgery may be the best option for you.

Our orthopedic surgeons stay up to date with the latest tools & techniques in orthopedic surgery. We always try to focus on minimally invasive surgery whenever possible, to allow for a speedy and less painful recovery.


Can a Hamstring Tear Heal on its Own?

A mild hamstring tear may be able to heal on its own. If you think you may have pulled your hamstring, be sure to use the RICE method. If your pain does not go away after three days, seek the help of a sports medicine specialist. 

If you pulled your hamstring and you are experiencing swelling/bruising, and it is difficult to move your leg, seek medical attention as soon as possible.  


Seek Help from a Hamstring Specialist Near You

At Elite Sports Medicine, we have a range of orthopedic specialists who treat hamstring tears. Call us or request an appointment online today to see one of our doctors in Nashville, Franklin, and Brentwood.

If you need to see a hamstring specialist ASAP, call us at 615-324-1600. We may be able to offer you a same-day appointment.

Marina von Rutenberg Marina is the Marketing Coordinator for Elite Sports Medicine + Orthopedics. She has been writing and reviewing medical content since 2021. https://www.linkedin.com/in/marina-von-rutenberg/

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