Treating Pulled Hamstrings - Pursuit Physical Therapy
Select Page

Treating Pulled Hamstrings

  • No painful injections
  • No unnecessary surgery
  • No expensive medications
Book Your Evaluation

Treating Pulled Hamstrings

  • No painful injections
  • No unnecessary surgery
  • No expensive medications
Book Your Evaluation
A hamstring injury occurs when 1 or more of the 3 hamstring muscles or tendons (a type of soft tissue connecting the muscle to the bone) tear. It is 1 of the most common injuries of the lower body, particularly affecting athletes participating in sports such as football, soccer, or track. After tearing a hamstring muscle, a person is 2 to 6 times more likely to suffer a subsequent injury. Surgery is required to treat the most severe cases. However, in most cases, hamstring injuries are managed with physical therapy.

What is a Hamstring Injury?

The hamstrings make up the primary muscle group responsible for straightening (extending) the hip and bending (flexing) the knee. It includes a group of 3 muscles along the back of the thigh that connect the pelvis to the leg. The three muscles are the:
  • Semitendinosus
  • Semimembranosus
  • Biceps femoris
Hamstring Injuries Diagram
Hamstring injuries occur when excessive force is placed across the muscles. This typically happens during sudden starts or stops when running, a rapid change of direction with “cutting” or jumping maneuvers, or when the muscle is overstretched by activities such as sprinting, hurdling, kicking, or heavy lifting. The common structures involved in hamstring injuries are:
  • Hamstring muscle(s) and/or tendon (a type of soft tissue that connects muscle to bone)
  • Bursa (a fluid-filled sack that sits between bones and soft tissues to limit friction), usually irritated with recurring hamstring injuries
  • Ischial tuberosity (the “sit-bone”), which in rare cases can be fractured by traumatic injury
Risk factors for hamstring injuries include:
  • A history of prior hamstring injury
  • Muscle imbalances (particularly hamstring weakness)
  • Poor flexibility (muscle tightness)
  • Inadequate warm-up before activity
  • Muscle fatigue

How Does a Hamstring Tear Feel?

When a person injures a hamstring muscle, the symptoms are related to the severity of the injury. Mild hamstring strains often just feel like a pulled or cramping muscle; you might not even realize you have pulled your hamstring until you stop performing the activity, or until the next day, when you might have soreness, tightness, or bruising. However, more involved injuries can be painful, and your symptoms might include:
  • A sudden, sharp pain in the buttocks or back of the thigh
  • A feeling of a “pop” or tearing in the muscle
  • Bruising within hours or days after the injury
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness to touch
  • Difficulty sitting comfortably, lifting the leg when lying down, or straightening the knee
  • Difficulty walking, resulting in a limp

How Is a Hamstring Tear Diagnosed?

Diagnosis of hamstring injuries starts with a thorough understanding of your health history and the cause of the injury. The questions your therapist may ask include:
  • If you have had a similar injury before
  • What you were doing when you first felt the pain
  • Where you felt the pain, and if you felt a “pop”
  • If you noticed any swelling or bruising in the first 24 hours after the injury
  • What you were able to do immediately following the injury, and how you have been functioning since the injury (walking, sleeping, lifting your leg, etc.)
Your physical therapist will also perform a clinical evaluation, including some of the following observations and tests to determine the nature of your injury:
  • Observation: To note any discoloration or bruising
  • Pain: To identify your current pain level, and the activities that make your pain better or worse
  • Palpation: To pinpoint the location and size of the tender area through touch, which will help determine the severity of the injury
  • Range of motion: To compare the motion of your injured leg with your healthy leg
  • Muscle strength: To determine the strength of the hamstring muscles when bending or straightening your knee and hip
  • Gait analysis: To note any limping or pain when walking
Typically, hamstring injuries are classified as Grade I – III depending on the severity of the injury.
  • Grade I: Mild strain with minimal tearing; usually feels like a pulled or cramping muscle
  • Grade II: Moderate strain with partial tearing; may cause a stinging or burning sensation at the back of the thigh
  • Grade III: A severe, complete muscle tear; may result in a “lump” on the back of the thigh where the muscle has torn
If your physical therapist suspects a severe injury, you will likely be referred to an orthopedic physician for medical diagnostic imaging, including x-ray and MRI, to evaluate the extent of the injury. In the event of a fracture of the ischial tuberosity (sit-bone) and/or a complete rupture of the muscle, surgery might be recommended.

How Can a Physical Therapist Help Treat a Hamstring Injury?

Your physical therapist will design an individualized treatment program specific to the exact nature of your injury and your goals. The First 24-48 hours Physical therapy may include:
  • Resting the injured area by avoiding aggravating activities, such as walking or working out. If you are having notable difficulty walking, crutches may be recommended.
  • Applying ice to the injured area 3-4x/day for 15-20 minutes (with a towel placed between your skin and the ice).
  • Applying a compression wrap to the area to aid in decreasing swelling and pain.
  • Referral to another health care provider for further diagnostic testing (if needed).
Range of motion It is common for muscles and joints to become stiff after an injury. As your pain decreases, your physical therapist will begin gentle flexibility exercises, such as stretching your hamstring muscles. Muscle strength Hamstring strengthening will be an essential part of your rehabilitation program. Your physical therapist will compare the strength of the muscle groups in each leg, and prescribe specific exercises to target areas of weakness. Manual therapy Many physical therapists are trained in hands-on “manual” therapy to move and manipulate muscles and joints to improve motion, flexibility, and strength. These techniques can target areas that are difficult to treat on your own. Functional training As you regain the flexibility and strength in your hamstrings, it will be important to teach your body how to move so you no longer put excessive stress on the previously injured area. Your physical therapist will develop a functional training program specific to your desired activity. In the event that the severity of your hamstring injury requires surgical treatment, a physical therapist will guide your postoperative rehabilitation. Your physical therapist will communicate with your surgeon to ensure complete and consistent postoperative care.

Can a Hamstring Tear be Prevented?

You can decrease your risk of a hamstring injury in the following ways:
  • Always warm up before participating in athletic activities.
  • Avoid starting a new activity too quickly; gradually increase the frequency and intensity of the activity so that your body may adapt to the new movement patterns.
  • Listen to your body after you work out (and stretch, apply ice, rest as needed) prior to engaging in the same routine again.
  • Use proper lifting and squatting techniques, particularly when maneuvering heavy objects.

To Get A "Insider's Look" At Our Treatment Approach And How We Get Results...

Click Below To Watch Our Exclusive Webinar! It's Simple, Short, and It's Free!

Yes! I Want Access To The Free Webinar

To Get A Insider's Look
  • Learn The Essential First Step... So You Can Get Pain Free Again
  • See Why Treatment Needs To Be Individualized, Not Standardized...So You Get Faster Results!
  • Learn How You Can Save Money...So You Don't Have To Waste $1000's On Unnecessary Treatments

Solve the root cause of your pain

How Our Treatment is Different

We believe that working with a specific specialist for your care is the best way to solve the root cause of your pain. Work one-on-one with a Doctor of Physical Therapy every time your visit our office.

Book your evaluation

Exclusive one-on-one patient care

While most clinics will give you a limited amount of time with your Doctor, we believe that true results come from consistent one-on-one therapy.

Work with your specialist every visit

Stop being handed off to trainees or non-Doctors for your Physical Therapy. At Pursuit, you'll work exclusively with your Doctor of Physical Therapy that specializes in your specific needs.

24/7 messaging access to your specialist

Ever have an issue or questions? We're here to help. Get 24/7 access to your specialist while you're under our care. Physical Therapy doesn't just happen when you're in our clinic, so we're here for you when you need us.

No waiting periods

Get off that waiting list and get the treatment you need. We're always ready to accept new patients, so you can get better faster and get back to a pain-free life that you deserve.

Not limited by insurance

Don't let the insurance companies tell you how much treatment you need. Avoid the limitations of short sessions that insurance provides and work with our Doctors when you need it and for as long as you need it.

No painful injections, no expensive medications, no surgery

In order to truly solve your pain, we use a holistic approach to Physical Therapy, not relying on injections, medications, or surgery. Instead, we'll strengthen your body's weak points that are causing your pain.


Ron Miller


Doctor of Physical Therapy | Board Certified Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Clinical Specialist | Post-Doctoral Orthopaedic Residency Trained | Certified in Dry Needling | Titleist Performance Institute Certified

Dr. Ron Miller is the owner and founder of Pursuit Physical Therapy. His core belief is that it is not about the physician, the physical therapist, or the insurance company: it is about what is truly best for the patient. Dr. Miller started...

Carey Rothschild


Doctor of Physical Therapy and Assistant Professor at the University of Central Florida | Board Certified Orthopaedic Clinical Specialist
| Board Certified Sport Clinical Specialist

Dr. Carey Rothschild is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at the University of Central Florida.  Dr. Rothschild earned a Bachelor of Health Science in Physical Therapy in 1999 from the University of Florida and a Doctor of Physical Therapy from Boston University in 2005...

Carey Rothschild
Michael Fabrick


Doctor of Physical Therapy | Certified in Dry Needling | Pursuit Sports Performance Specialist | Professional Tennis Tour Physical Therapist

Dr. Michael Fabrick was born and raised in Hanover, Pennsylvania and attended Slippery Rock University where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science. He then went on to receive his Doctorate Degree in Physical Therapy in May of 2020. During his final tenure as a Doctoral intern, he trained underneath Todd Ellenbecker, who is one of the world’s leading experts on shoulder rehabilitation and is the Vice President of Medical Services for the ATP World Tour...


Physical Therapist | Dry Needling Certified | Mastery Certified In Manual Therapy | Pelvic Floor And Post Partum Specialist

Maryann was originally born in Connecticut but moved to Florida with her family at the age of 9 and she grew up in Jupiter, Florida. She then went to college at the University of Central Florida...

Kayla Cook, DPT, HSP, CSCS

Doctor of Physical Therapy | Hesch Sacroiliac Practitioner | Certified Strength And Conditioning Specialist | Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Specialist | Volleyball Specialist

Dr. Kayla Cook was born and raised in Northern California and received her undergraduate degree in Kinesiology from California State University in Sacramento.  She then received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy from The University of St Augustine for Health Sciences...

To Get A "Insider's Look" At Our Treatment Approach And How We Get Results...

Click Below To Watch Our Exclusive Webinar!  It's Simple, Short, And It's Free!

Yes! I Want Access To The Free Webinar

To Get A Insider's Look
  • Learn The Essential First Step...So You Can Get Pain Free Again
  • See Why Treatment Needs To Be Individualized, Not Standardized...So You Get Faster Results
  • Learn How You Can Save Money...So You Don't Have To Waste $1000's On Unnecessary Treatments



Step 1:

Call our expert team.

step 2

Step 2:

We’ll work with you to find and treat the root of your pain.

step 3

Step 3:

Get back to doing what you love.

Call us to schedule your appointment

(407) 494-8835
(407) 494-8835

Ask one of our Board Certified Specialists a question about your pain. Just fill out the form below.

    How can we help?