A funny thing happened to me while I sat at my desk writing my next blog post. Actually, I shouldn’t say “funny,” more like agonizing. I felt this sharp pain on the back side of my upper left leg. So I got up, hoping if I walked around and stretched it, it would calm down. However, the pain intensified. I first thought my leg fell asleep from sitting at the desk too long. When the pain subsided enough, I sat down and started researching what happened. After a good hour of interesting anatomy study I deduced I pulled my hamstring.
The Causes of a Pulled Hamstring
A hamstring injury occurs when at least one of the hamstring muscles over strains. The hamstring muscle fibers can tear or strain during activities as simple as walking to running. A “pulled” hamstring occurs when the hamstring muscles are suddenly stretched more than expected and more than it can handle. Depending on how badly you overstretch the muscle, some people have even heard a loud pop, indicating it most likely tore.
The hamstring injury usually occurs in the middle of the hamstring, however it can happen anywhere along the tendon. As you get older the hamstring tendon can stretch too much (injury) where it joins with the ischial tuberosity near the pelvis, which can also attribute to hip and groin injuries. The injury can sometimes cause the bone to pull away from the pelvis where the hamstring tendon joins.
The pulled hamstring injury I believe I have is called an avulsion injury. This happens when a fast muscle contraction happens with a speed burst that is too much for the hamstring to handle. You see this a lot in weightlifting (which I do on a regular basis).
Causes of Hamstring Injury
- Poor stretching or lack of warming the muscles up.
- Inadequate shoes
- An imbalance between the quadriceps and hamstring
- Poor muscle strength with the hamstrings
- A damaged hamstring that is continually overworked
A Tip to Avoid Hamstring Injury
If you noticed from the list above of the causes of pulled hamstrings, you will notice a lot of injury is due to weak or inadequate hamstrings. The best method to prevent injury is to strengthen the hamstring. Exercises such as the hamstring leg curl can build muscle fiber and strengthen the the tendon, which can keep you injury free.