Most people who suffer an acute hamstring strain will experience some of the following:
Sharp pain. When the injury occurs, one may feel an abrupt, sharp pain at the back of the thigh or buttocks.
Difficulty moving and bearing weight. Following a hamstring injury, it may be hard or impossible to continue activity. The person may even have trouble walking with a normal gait, getting up from a seated position, or descending stairs.9-11 Acute hamstring injury patients can also have a “stiff legged” gait with noticeable limp.6
Bruising. Sometimes bruising and discoloration can be seen along the back of the thigh.
Swelling and deformity. For cases in which there has been a complete tear of the muscle-tendon junction (myotendinous rupture), there may be bruising along with palpable defects, such as muscle lumpiness, under the skin. These defects can be felt and seen with contraction.5,6,8
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In the rare case of a distal avulsion, in which the hamstring tendon has torn away from the tibia or fibula, a patient may experience significant bruising and thickening of soft tissue that can be felt near the site of the injury, which results in an inability to walk without assistance.16-21