Pain in the back of the knee: possible Hamstring injury

Patient

Q: My daughter is having knee problems in the back of her knee she plays volleyball, basketball, soccer, softball and runs track. What could be wrong?She is only 13 years old.

Doctor

A:    Most likely your daughter is experiencing a muscle sprain which involves the tearing or stretching of the ligaments beyond their normal capacity, specifically the Hamstring muscles located in their lower insertion close to the back of the knee. A muscle strain is associated with the tearing or excessive stretching of the muscle and can be equally as painful. Symptoms of muscle injury and muscle pain obviously involve pain, however it is not uncommon for the affected area to swell, redden and become bruised or discolored. All symptoms of muscle injury and muscle pain can range from mild to severe. Any muscle strain or muscle pull or even a muscle tear implies damage to a muscle or its attaching tendons. The time of healing varies from patient to patient and also depends on the severity of the injury.The conservative treatment consists of: initially, protection, rest, ice, compression, and elevation (known as the PRICE formula) can help the affected muscle and also maintaining the strained muscle in a stretched position. Heat can be applied when the swelling has lessened, anti-inflammatory drugs (i.e.: “Aleve”), rest the strained muscle and avoid the activities that caused the strain and other activities that are painful. A Physical Therapy program for 4-6 weeks must be followed and practice at home the stretching exercises above all. The healing time and conditions for each patient are different. Avoid overuse and try to do an appropriate warming-up and stretching before significant physical activity.

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