If you are experiencing pain, weakness, and/or loss of function in the back of your leg, it is wise to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis. A physical examination will be performed to determine if you have any signs of a pulled hamstring. Your doctor will visually assess and feel the muscles, bones and other soft tissue in and around your hamstring, as well as your entire leg, pelvis and lower back, to evaluate sameness (symmetry), recognize differences and identify pain and tenderness. This will help to discover any abnormalities, such as mild or severe inflammation, fluid, bruising, bone or tissue deformity, and leg length discrepancies.
You doctor will take a medical historyabout you and your activities. He/she will inquire about the intensity of your present pain, if you heard a popping noise when you first experienced your injury, the duration and type of symptoms and the limitations you are experiencing. Details about what instigated your problem, when it started, and whether or not you have ever had treatments for this or a similar condition in the past, will be very helpful in assessing your injury.
Your doctor may ask you to complete a series of flexing and extending leg movements to see what motions cause pain, weakness, tightness, or instability. This will help to determine the location of your injury (in the muscle belly or near the attachment), test for the grade of your hamstring strain and any muscle imbalances. He/she will also evaluate your feet and gait (the way you walk) to determine if you overpronate, or have other alignment issues.
Most Common Hamstring Injury Diagnostic Tests
Most grade 1 or 2 hamstring strains don’t require diagnostic testing, however these tests will help confirm if you have a grade 3 strain and/or will rule out other causes of hamstring pain.
X-rays will provide a two-dimensional image of the overall structure of your hamstring and upper leg (pelvis, femur and knee). They are helpful in identifying instability, avulsion fractures, abnormal bone shapes (bone spurs, calcifications or cysts, joint degeneration), and/or other leg problems.
CT scans (computed tomography) and diagnostic ultrasounds may be used to look internally at the hamstring muscles.
MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging) will provide more detailed information and will help to evaluate the soft tissues in and around your hamstring (muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and other connective tissues). They can identify ligament or tendon damage, and can help to determine the extent of your injury, the grade of your tear or inflammation, as well as other associated conditions.
Treating Your Hamstring Pull
If you have a hamstring pull or strain, resting it is recommended. Avoid activities that cause pain or may have caused the strain and begin cold compression treatments as soon as possible.
There are healing tools that can help treat your hamstring pull and speed up the healing process so you can reduce your pain and get back to daily life. Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ (BFST®) is an easy and effective way to promote blood flow to heal your hamstring pull faster and more completely than any other methods available.