Hamstring Pain

Hamstring Pain

At PhysioHub we treat a lot of clients for hamstring injuries. A hamstring injury is either a strain or complete tear of the muscles at the back of the leg that assist in flexing the knee. It is a very common injury among GAA, Rugby and soccer athletes as these are high speed running sports that often include sudden stopping and starting. There are three different severities or ‘grades’ of hamstring injury. Grade 1 is a mild pull or strain, grade 2 is defined as a ‘partial’ muscle tear and grade 3 is a complete muscle tear or ‘rupture’. The level of pain, length of recovery time as well as extent and type of rehabilitation depends on which grade of injury you are experiencing. Generally, a grade one can take from a few days up to a fortnight, a grade two can take some weeks and a grade 3 can take months to fully heal and return to sport if that is the goal.

Signs and Symptoms:

Severe pain during activity is usually the first symptom of a hamstring strain. This is often felt on the acceleration phase of the running gait, in the worst case scenario with a ‘pop’ sensation that is often indicative of a grade 3 muscle strain. Aside from this people may also see bruising and feel weakness in the muscle. To firmly diagnose a hamstring injury and differentiate it from other injuries in the area like knee meniscal tears one of our physios will perform a thorough subjective and then objective examination of the area.
A thorough static and dynamic warm up can help to prevent a hamstring muscle strain. Other predisposing factors are an imbalance in muscle strength and length between the hamstrings and the quadriceps and weakness of the gluteals. If you are experiencing repeated grade 1 hamstring strains then a biomechanical assessment from one of our physiotherapists will help to identify the cause.


An initial period of Protection Optimal-Loading Ice Compression Elevation (POLICE) of up to 1 week is necessary. Medications to reduce pain may be helpful but you must check with your GP if it is ok to take this if you have any underlying medical conditions or are on prescription medications. Following this, physiotherapy is required to increase your range of movement and return your muscle to full strength and activity. This will consist of a combination of manual therapy such as soft tissue massage and friction massage to break down scar tissue, stretches and progressive loading exercise to increase muscle strength. Adherence to these programmes is very important because if the hamstrings do not return to full function, they are at risk for recurrent injury and developing chronic pain and weakness. Occasionally, surgery may be required to repair fully ruptured hamstrings to reattach them.

If you would like to book in to see one of our physiotherapists, please give us a call on 015253440 or you can book online at physiohub.ie


Hamstring pain can be caused by conditions such as strains, overuse, or muscle imbalances. If you experience persistent hamstring pain, tightness, or discomfort, especially during activities like running or stretching, it's advisable to consider physiotherapy. Seeking intervention early can help identify the specific cause of hamstring pain, address contributing factors, and initiate an effective treatment plan.

Physiotherapy for hamstring pain involves a comprehensive assessment to understand the factors contributing to the pain. Treatment may include specific exercises to strengthen and stretch the hamstring muscles, manual therapy techniques to address tightness, and guidance on proper biomechanics during activities. Each session is tailored to your needs, with the goal of reducing pain, improving flexibility, and promoting optimal hamstring function.

Yes, hamstring pain is often associated with muscle imbalances, where certain muscles may be overactive or underactive. Physiotherapy addresses these imbalances through targeted exercises to restore proper muscle function and balance. Treatment may also include techniques to alleviate tightness and improve flexibility, reducing the risk of recurring hamstring issues.

Physiotherapy is not only for treating existing hamstring pain but can also play a crucial role in preventing future injuries. Physiotherapists work with individuals to design preventive exercise programs that enhance hamstring strength, flexibility, and overall function. Additionally, they provide education on proper warm-up techniques, biomechanics, and activity modifications to reduce the risk of future hamstring injuries.