Artificial Body Parts

Patient Forms

Please fill out these forms and bring them with you when you come for your appointment.

Online Resources

The following sites are recommended for additional information regarding orthopaedic problems.

“I Pulled my Hammie!”

One of the most common lower extremity injuries in professional baseball, and among weekend warriors as well, is the hamstring strain or “pulled hamstring.” Nearly all of us who have participated in recreational activities involving sprints with sudden starts and stops (softball, baseball, soccer, basketball, football) have at least witnessed someone who, in the middle of a run, has pulled up lame with an abrupt onset of pain in the back of the thigh – or we may have done so ourselves. This is the classic hamstring strain.

The hamstrings are actually a group of muscles in the back of each thigh. They arise from the bottom of the pelvis and attach at the upper end of the shin bone (tibia) providing power to extend our hips and flex our knees. If they are weak or inadequately stretched before participating in any sport, the muscles can tear in their mid portion or be pulled completely off the bottom of the pelvis. When this occurs, there is frequently an audible “pop,” where the patient feels a tearing sensation in the back of the thigh. While there are varying degrees of severity, even with mild hamstring tears there is abrupt pain, walking is difficult at best, and running is all but impossible. Also there is tenderness at the site of the tear, swelling can develop within hours, and bruising can develop over one to three days.

Treatment for hamstring strains involves decreasing your weight on the leg by using crutches – this keeps you from aggravating the injury. Minimizing the swelling helps to minimize the pain, so be sure to rest the leg. Lie down and try to elevate the injured area on pillows so that it is further away from the floor than your heart. Wrapping the thigh (not tightly though) with an elastic wrap or compression shorts also restricts swelling. An ice application for 15 to 20 minutes every two to three hours not only discourages swelling but has a direct pain-killing effect as well. Aggressive icing might be needed for several days. Over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen and Tylenol may also be considered. Usually nonsurgical treatment like this will suffice and symptoms will resolve in days to weeks. More severe tears might require surgery to repair them, and symptoms might take months to resolve. Certainly, if you’re not able to walk without crutches or a cane within three to four days after the injury, see a sports medicine physician. A return to sports is allowed when the injured athlete reachieves a full range of motion at hip and knee, has once again normal strength, and can progress from walk to jog to sprint to jump without pain.

Prevention is the key: good strength and flexibility are prerequisites for healthy sports participation. As the Mayo Clinic says: “Get in shape to play the sport; don’t play the sport to get in shape.”

< Back to News & Resources