Your hips, the joints where your thigh bone meets your pelvis bone, are very stable. It takes great force to seriously damage a healthy hip.
A handful of overuse and sports injuries are associated with the hip. Some male adolescents may experience growth-related hip problems, and some women may also face pelvis or hip related difficulties during pregnancy. However, the majority of hip problems are associated with aging, disease, and fractures in the elderly. Elderly people are subject to the most serious problems: life threatening hip fractures that are often due to osteoporosis, the disease that causes brittle bones.
The motion and support of the hip is controlled largely by the muscles of the thighs and lower back. The thigh muscles include the hamstring muscles, located at the back of the thigh, and the quadriceps muscle group, in the front of the thigh. These muscles work to extend the leg at the hip and bend the leg at the knee. When overuse or injury stretches or tears the hamstring muscle fibers, the resulting injury is called a strain.
Treatment for hip and thigh disorders may include rest, medicines, physiotherapy, or surgery including hip replacement.
The “hamstring” is actually a group of three muscles that work with the quadriceps to straighten (extend) the leg at the hip and bend (flex) the leg at the knee. The quadriceps muscles are usually much more powerful than the hamstring muscles. As a consequence, the hamstring may become fatigued faster than the quadriceps, leading to a hamstring strain.
Hamstring strains usually cause acute pain and occur during strenuous activity. However, they can develop over days or weeks. Like calf strains, hamstring strains often take a long time to recover and the rate of recurrence is high. But the long-term outcome after a hamstring strain injury is usually excellent and complications are few.
Hamstring injuries are easier to prevent than to cure. Factors that increase the risk of calf and hamstring strains include:
- Previous hamstring injury
- Increasing age
- Sudden change in direction acceleration or deceleration
- Poor strength and flexibility
- Calf or hamstring muscle fatigue
- Muscle strength imbalance between the quadriceps and hamstrings
- Inappropriate or inadequate warm-up
Our Clinic’s approach to treating a hamstring strain
The treatment of a hamstring strain depends on the severity of the injury. When physiotherapy is initiated, treatment for your hamstring strain may include:
- Modalities such as electrical stimulation, ice, ultrasound or laser to help reduce pain
- Gait analysis and instruction in proper biomechanics
- Joint and soft tissue mobilization
- Therapeutic exercises to restore flexibility and strength