The hamstring and quadriceps muscle groups are particularly at risk for muscle strains because they cross both the hip and knee joints. Muscle strains usually happen when a muscle is stretched beyond its limit, tearing the muscle fibers. They frequently occur near the point where the muscle joins the tough, fibrous connective tissue of the tendon. A similar injury occurs if there is a direct blow to the muscle. Muscle strains in the thigh can be quite painful. Once a muscle strain occurs, the muscle is vulnerable to re-injury. It is important to let the muscle heal properly and to follow preventive guidelines from your doctor. A hamstring injury occurs when you strain or pull one of your hamstring muscles. The hamstrings are a group of three muscles that run along the back of your thigh. You may be more likely to get a hamstring injury if you play a sport that involves sprinting with sudden stops and starts. Hamstring injuries typically are very limiting and can present with black and blue bruising if tears occur. A quadriceps injury occurs when you strain or pull one of your four quad muscles that attach your hip to your knee at the kneecap. You may be more likely to injury this muscle if you participate in a sport that requires a quick or strong contraction of the quad, as in football, running, basketball, tennis or a similar sport that involves sprinting or sudden stops and starts.
Hamstring injury risk factors include:
- Sports Participation: Sports that require sprinting, running, or other activities like dancing that might require extreme stretching make a hamstring injury more likely.
- Prior Hamstring Injury: After you have had one hamstring injury, you are more likely to have another one, especially if you try to resume all your activities at pre-energy levels of intensity before your muscles have had time to heal and rebuild strength.
- Poor Flexibility: If you have poor flexibility, your muscles may not be able to bear the full force of the action required during certain activities.
- Muscle Imbalance: Although not all experts agree, some suggest that a muscle imbalance may lead to a hamstring injury. When the muscles along the front of your high, the quadriceps, become stronger and more developed than your hamstring muscles, you may be more likely to injure your hamstring muscles.
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