Muscle Tear: Can It Be Treated With Physiotherapy?

The hamstring muscles, sometimes simply called the “hamstrings” are located on the back of the thigh. This muscle bundle is actually made up of three muscles: the semitendinosus, the semimembranosus, and part of the biceps femoris.

The hamstrings are involved in the movement of knee flexion while we walk, run, and also when we kneel. The hamstrings also participate in the extension of the thigh over the hip while we are standing.

Since these muscles are involved in forward, backward, and lateral movements, they are frequently injured during the practice of various sports.

Hamstring Injuries

The most common injuries to the hamstrings are stretching and in some cases tearing. This muscle tear or tear is common in athletes who perform jumps and acceleration, deceleration and lateral movements.

The hamstrings can also suffer injuries as part of the progression of other pre-existing problems such as previous contractures and tendinitis as explained by the professionals at

Some risk factors for hamstring tears include a sedentary lifestyle, nutritional deficiencies, and circulatory problems.

Hamstring injuries can be classified into three degrees according to their severity:

Grade 1: The muscle fibers are slightly stretched. In this case the damage is not that extensive.

The most frequent symptoms are pain on movement, swelling, tenderness, normal gait or with mild pain, and adequate mobility of the knee.

Grade 2: The muscle fibers have a partial tear. In this case the symptoms are more complex and annoying.

The frequent symptoms in this case are the presence of moderate pain on extension, moderate swelling, pain on palpation, decreased muscle strength, bruising, walking with a limp and limited mobility of the knee.~153 ~

Grade 3: There is extensive tearing of the muscle fibers. The symptoms are spectacular and the patient shows great discomfort.

In this case the pain is permanent with extensive bruising, the loss of muscular strength is important, normal walking is impossible without the aid of crutches and the knee joint is severely limited in its movement.


Prevention of tearing or tearing these muscles includes:

  • Carry out warm-up and stretching exercises, prior to the main sports practice.
  • Use of suitable footwear for the sport being practiced.
  • Gradually increase the intensity of physical exercise.
  • A good diet, avoiding a sedentary lifestyle and avoiding doing intense sports without professional advice are also important.


Once the injury has occurred, the recovery time will logically depend on the degree of damage.

The injury will go through three phases:

  • Inflammatory: With a period of duration of 48 hours on average. Inflammation is a repair mechanism that should not be interrupted. Efforts should be aimed at reducing bruising and pain.
  • Repair: Starts after 48 hours. There is vascular neo-formation and regeneration of muscle fibers.
  • Remodeling: The collagen matrix begins to organize itself, while the muscle fibers are regenerating. Efforts in this phase aim at healing as well as possible.

Full healing can take up to a month.

Physiotherapy: Stretching and mobilization

Muscles need mobilization to receive a sufficient supply of blood and oxygen, in addition to optimizing waste drainage and preserving elasticity. For this reason, when faced with hamstring tears, it is advisable to mobilize the affected area through rehabilitation exercises.

The stretches carried out as part of the recovery treatment should always be gentle and limited, taking as a reference the presence of the absence of pain.

Finally, the muscles must recover their strength after the injury, for which isotonic and isometric exercise programs are carried out.

It is known that in these cases, the sooner mobilization and stretching begins – under the supervision of professionals such as those at, the better the recovery prognosis and the shorter the time off leave will be.

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