- Acute hamstring injuries are the most common injuries in participants in popular sports such as football and track and field athletics.
- The diagnosis is made if there is a history of acute-onset pain in the posterior thigh, and presence of the triad of pain on contraction, stretching and palpation.
- Additional investigations and possible referral for surgical intervention are indicated if there is a suspicion of a complete hamstring rupture or avulsion fracture, both of which are rare.
- The basis of treatment of patients with acute hamstring injuries without complete rupture is a progressive physiotherapeutic exercise programme. Currently there is insufficient scientific evidence to support other treatment methods.
- The mean recovery time for athletes with acute hamstring injuries is 3-6 weeks. The individual recovery time is however hard to predict.
- It is difficult to define exactly when the sport can be resumed, particularly because of the high risk of recurrent hamstring injury. The most valuable indications for the risk of recurrent hamstring injury are: a history of previous injuries of the athlete; monitoring hamstring tenderness; flexibility; and strength of the hamstring after resuming sporting activities.
Conflict of interest and financial support: ICMJE forms provided by the authors are available online along with the full text of this article.