Symptoms of a torn hamstring typically include a sudden, sharp pain while engaging in physical activity followed by swelling and bruising within a few hours or a few days, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Some people also experience a popping or snapping sensation after tearing or straining a hamstring muscle.
Treatment options for mild-to-moderate hamstring tears include rest, ice, compression and elevation, as MedicineNet explains. Anti-inflammatory medications, such as naproxen, aspirin or ibuprofen, help reduce swelling and pain. Severe hamstring tears typically require surgery. Depending on the severity of the tear, it can take several months to heal completely.
To prevent muscle atrophy and scar tissue from forming, people must participate in a rehabilitation program that includes range of motion and stretching exercises, claims MedicineNet. Strengthening exercises help rebuild leg muscles. Individuals must avoid strenuous physical activity until the hamstring heals to prevent re-injury, which may lead to permanent damage.
Signs of recovery include the ability to walk, run, sprint or jump without feeling pain and the ability to move the injured leg as easily as the uninjured leg, as WebMD notes. Stretching hamstrings before and after engaging in physical activity helps prevent future injury.