It is not uncommon for a person to injure their hamstring. As well as being quite painful it can also prevent the afflicted person from being able to pursue their usual activities and motion. The hamstrings themselves are the tendons which attach the large muscle at the back of the thigh to the bone.
The hamstring is also referenced as the three different muscles adjacent to this larger thigh muscle – the bicep femoris, the semimembranosus and the semitendinosus. Without the hamstring a person would not be able bend their knee or move it behind their body.
If a person plays sports then they are much more likely to incur a hamstring injury than someone who leads a more sedentary lifestyle. If the sport in question involves a lot of fast movement, such as sprinting or on-court team sports, then the risk of injury to this area is even higher. When a person stands still or walks, the hamstring muscles are not used much at all and they mostly come into action when running, jumping and climbing are required.
The worst thing that can happen with a hamstring is that the three muscles completely tear and this could take several months to heal properly. However this is the worst case scenario and a normal strain to the hamstring will be back to normal in less than a day.
Overuse of the hamstring is the most common reason that the muscle will become damaged. Expecting too much of the body and pushing past usual capabilities can easily lead to an injury in any part of the body and the hamstring is particularly susceptible to this.
If you feel like you have damaged your hamstring and it does not go back to normal function by the end of the day then it may be worthwhile getting checked out by your doctor. This will usually just involve a physical examination but could potentially lead to an X-ray or an MRI, this all of course depends on how seriously you have hurt yourself. Surgical treatment might be necessary if the tendon has separated from the bone and the rehabilitation process following this could be quite excessive. On the other side of the scale, non-surgical treatment of less drastic injuries will simply involve elevating the hamstring and icing it as it rests. If surgery is resorted to then full function can be expected again after three to six months.