Diagnosing a Hamstring Pull
To help your doctor achieve a proper diagnosis, he/she will begin with a medical history about you, your current condition and symptoms. Details about what instigated your problem, when it started, and whether or not you have ever had treatments for this or a similar condition in the past, will be very helpful in assessing your injury.
A physical examination will be performed to determine if you have any signs of a hamstring pull. Your doctor will visually assess and feel the muscles, bones and other soft tissue in and around your hamstring, as well as your entire leg, pelvis and lower back, to evaluate sameness (symmetry), recognize differences and identify pain and tenderness. This will help to discover any abnormalities, such as mild or severe inflammation, fluid, bruising, bone or tissue deformity, and leg length discrepancies. He/she may ask you to complete a series of flexing and extending leg movements to see what motions cause pain, weakness, tightness, or instability. This will help to determine the location of your injury (in the muscle belly or near the attachment), test for the grade of your hamstring strain and any muscle imbalances. He/she will also evaluate your feet and gait (the way you walk) to determine if you have other alignment issues.
Most common hamstring injury diagnostic tests:
Most grade 1 or 2 hamstring strains don't require diagnostic testing, however these tests will help confirm if you have a grade 3 strain and/or will rule out other causes of hamstring pain.
X-rays will provide a two-dimensional image of the overall structure of your hamstring and upper leg (pelvis, femur and knee). They are helpful in identifying instability, avulsion fractures, abnormal bone shapes (bone spurs, calcifications or cysts, joint degeneration), and/or other leg problems.
MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging) will provide more detailed information and will help to evaluate the soft tissues in and around your hamstring (muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and other connective tissues). They can identify ligament or tendon damage, and can help to determine the extent of your injury, the grade of your tear or inflammation, as well as other associated conditions.
CT scans (computed tomography) and ultrasounds have been also used on occasion.