Mostly a hamstring concerns calf or thighs. Read how the injury develops and how it is treated!


At a Hamstring tearing one or more fibers in a muscle, which is accompanied by a sudden, stabbing pain. Reason is a strong muscle load, such as football or tennis. Especially often a hamstring concerns calf or thighs. Read more about this topic here: How does a torn muscle fiber develop? What are the symptoms and the diagnosis? What to do if hamstring? How long to take a break with sports?

Product Overview


  • description

  • symptoms

  • Causes and risk factors

  • Examinations and diagnosis

  • treatment

  • Disease course and prognosis

Muscular rupture: Description

In a torn muscle, tearing one or more fibers of a muscle. This often causes a hemorrhage (bruise) in the tissue. A hamstring muscle (quadriceps femoris muscle) and calf muscle (gastrocnemius muscle) is especially common.

What is a muscle fiber?

Each skeletal muscle is composed of numerous muscle fiber bundles, each of which consists of about ten to twenty muscle fibers - the smallest structural units of a muscle. A muscle fiber is a long, cylindrical cell with many cell nuclei. It is depending on the muscle one to 30 centimeters long and depending on their functional stress 10 to 100 microns thick.

The electron microscope shows that each muscle fiber is made up of hundreds of myofibrils. These functional units contain proteinaceous filaments (actin, myosin) and are essential for contracting a muscle fiber - and the entire muscle.

Muscle bundle tear and muscle tear

Muscle fiber rupture, muscle bundle rupture and muscle rupture are all based on the same injury mechanism - sudden muscle overload - and differ only in the extent of muscle damage: While a muscle fiber tear tears individual muscle fibers, a fiber bundle tear affects a whole fiber bundle. After a muscle tear, the muscle was completely severed.

Muscular rupture: symptoms

A torn muscle fiber is accompanied by a sudden, knife-like pain. The affected muscle is limited in its function and can no longer be loaded maximum. The patient can not continue the athletic activity that led to the injury.

Immediately after the injury, especially with a complete muscle tear, a visible and palpable muscle cell appears at the affected area. Due to the swelling of the tissue, however, it is soon no longer to feel.

Eventually, a visible bruise (hematoma) forms at the site of the torn muscle.

A tension of the injured muscle against resistance causes pain to the patient. There are also pressure and strain pains.

The symptoms described are all the more pronounced, the more serious the damage to the muscles - that is, if more than one fiber, a bundle of fibers or even the whole muscle is torn.

Muscular rupture: causes and risk factors

A hamstring injury occurs when the force on the muscle is greater than the force of the muscle. The muscle can not withstand the applied force and tears to varying degrees. The result is a more or less pronounced muscle fiber tear, a muscle bundle tear or even a muscle tear.

By the way: With only a slight overload, which is not sufficient for a tear, the affected muscle is stretched only excessively - it creates a (also painful) muscle strain.

Injuries such as a hamstring happen especially in sports - in fact, they are among the most common sports injuries. Particularly risky are sports that require sudden, rapid acceleration and stops. These include football, handball, tennis, squash and short-distance sprints.

Even a direct trauma (such as a kick against the calf) can cause a torn muscle.

Risk factors for hamstring & Co.

Various factors favor muscle injury in the sense of a hamstring, muscle bundle tear, muscle tear or a simple strain. These include, for example:

  • Tired or insufficiently warmed up muscles
  • disturbed coordination of movement
  • lack of training condition
  • lack of fitness
  • unfamiliar soil conditions
  • cold weather
  • wrong shoes
  • Lack of fluid, vitamins, minerals and trace elements
  • Infections (like glandular fever)
  • Taking preparations for rapid muscle growth (anabolic steroids)

Muscular rupture: examinations and diagnosis

If you suspect a torn muscle, you should go to the family doctor or just to a sports physician. He will first inquire about the complaints and the injury mechanism. Possible questions are:

  • Where did the injury happen?
  • How long ago was that?
  • Where exactly do the complaints occur?

Then follows the physical examination.The doctor examined the injured area for a possible muscle cell or swelling. He examines whether stretching and loading of the affected muscle are painful and whether the muscle has lost strength.

By means of ultrasound (ultrasound) and, if necessary, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the diagnosis can support muscle fiber rupture and detect possible bleeding into the tissue.

If there is a suspicion that an additional bone has been injured, this can be checked by means of an x-ray examination.

Muscular rupture: treatment

In the event of a torn muscle fiber or more severe muscle damage, first aid measures should be initiated as quickly as possible according to the PECH scheme: this means break - ice - compression - pressure-bearing.

  • Pause: Cancel sports activity, immobilize the injured extremity.
  • Ice: Cool the injured area for 10 to 20 minutes with an ice pack or a cold envelope.
  • Compression: Apply a compression bandage.
  • Elevation: Often the hamstring affects the upper arm, thigh or calf. The injured limb should be stored high, so that less blood flows into the injured tissue.

These measures aim to stop bleeding into the tissues, reduce pain and swelling, and prevent further damage. Warming of the tissue and massage should be avoided immediately after injury as this may promote further hemorrhage.

Muscular rupture: Therapy at the doctor

The doctor may prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory analgesics (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or diclofenac in a torn muscle.

A dosed physical therapy (lymph drainage, cold therapy etc.) can promote the regeneration of the injured muscle. As soon as the symptoms recede, you should start with physiotherapy: Recommended are functional exercises that increasingly stress the affected muscle.

Sometimes the therapist applies a special tape dressing to the injured area.

A large bruise in the tissue may need to be punctured. In the case of a pronounced hamstring injury or a torn muscle tear or a complete muscle tear, surgery may be necessary. The torn muscle parts are sewn. The surgeon uses sutures for this, which dissolve over time and are absorbed by the body.

Muscular rupture: disease course and prognosis

In a hamstring, there are generally no complications. The injury usually heals without consequences.

Muscular rupture: duration

However, a hamstring needs time to heal: Depending on the severity, you should not do any sports for two to six weeks, or four to eight weeks if you have a muscle torn. If you strain the muscle anyway, before the Hamstring healed, easily re-injury (retraumatization).

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