What Is A Hamstring Strain? A strain is a stretch or a tear of a muscle or a tendon. People commonly call such an injury a "pulled" muscle. The hamstring muscle group is located in the back of your thigh and is responsible for bending your knee. It is made up of three large muscles: the Biceps Femoris, Semimembranous, and Semitendinosus.
How Does It Occur? A hamstring muscle strain usually occurs when these muscles are contracted forcefully during activities such as running jumping.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Hamstring Strain? You will often feel a burning or popping as the injury occurs. you will have pain when walking or when bending or straightening your leg. A few days after the injury, you may have bruising on your leg just below the injury.
How Is It Diagnosed? Your doctor will examine your leg and find tenderness at the site of the injury.
How Is It Treated? Treatment may Include:
- 1. Applying ice packs to your hamstring for 20 to 30 minutes everyday 3 to 4 hours for 2 to 3 days or until the pain goes away.
- 2. Elevating your leg by placing a pillow underneath it.
- 3. Wrapping an elastic bandage around your leg for compression to keep the swelling from getting worse.
- 4. Taking anti-inflammatory medication according to your doctor's prescription.
- 5. Using crutches if it is too painful to walk.
As you return to your activity you may be given an elastic thigh wrap to give extra support to your hamstrings. while you are recovering from your injury, you will need to change your sport or activity to one that does not make your condition worse. For example you may need to swim or bicycle instead of run.
When Can I Return To My Sport Or Activity? The goal of rehabilitation is to return you to your sport or activity as soon and as safely as possible. If you return too soon you may worsen your injury which could lead to permanent damage. Everyone recovers from injury at a different rate. Return to your sport or activity will be determined by how soon your hamstring area recovers not by how many days or weeks it has been since your injury has occurred. In general, the longer you have symptoms before you start treatment the longer it will take to safely return to your sport or activity when, starting from the top of the list and progressing to the end, each of the following is true:
- 1. You have full range of motion in the injured leg compared to the uninjured leg compared to the uninjured leg.
- 2. You have full strength of the injured leg compared to the uninjured leg.
- 3. You can jog straight ahead without pain of limping.
- 4. You can do 45-degree cuts first at half-speed then at full-speed.
- 5. You can do 20- yard figures-of-eight, first at half-speed, then at full-speed.
- 6. You can do 90-degree cuts, first at half speed, then at full speed.
- 7. You can do 10-yard figures of eight, first at half-speed, then at full-speed.
- 8. You can jump on both legs without pain and you can jump on the injured led without pain.
How Can I Prevent A Hamstring Strain? A hamstring strain is best prevented by warming up properly and stretching your hamstring muscles prior to your activities. This is especially important in sprinting or jumping.
Hamstring Strain Rehabilitation Exercises: You may begin gently stretching your hamstring right away hamstring right away by doing exercise 1, the standing hamstring stretch. Make sure you do not feel any sharp pain, only a mild discomfort in the back of your& thigh when you are doing the stretch. After the standing hamstring stretch has become easier for you, you can exercise 2, the hamstring stretch on a wall. You should also stretch your calf muscle because it attaches near where your hamstring ends. Use exercise 3, the standing calf stretch.
Next, start strengthening your hamstring using exercises 4,5, and 6 when the pain is gone. After your hamstrings have become stronger and you feel your leg is stable you can begin strengthening the quadriceps (the muscles in the front of the thigh)by doing exercise 7, the wall slide.
1. Standing hamstrings stretch: It is generally easiest to begin stretching your hamstring by placing the heel of your injured leg on a stool about 15 inches high. Lean forward, bending at the hips until you heel a mild stretch in the back at the waist when doing this or you will stretch your lower back instead. Hold the stretch 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
2. Hamstrings stretch on wall: Lie on your back with your buttocks close to a doorway and your legs extended straight out in front of you and through the doorway. Raise your injured leg and rest the heel against the door frame. Your uninjured leg should still be extended through the door way you will feel a very strong stretch in the back of your thigh. Hold this stretch for 60 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
3. Standing calf stretch: Stand facing a wall with your hands on the wall at about chest level. Your injured leg should be about 12 to 18 inches behind your uninjured leg. Keep your injured leg straight with your heel on the floor, and lean into the wall. Bend your front knee until you feel stretch in the back of the calf muscle of your injured leg. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
4. Prone knee bends: You can begin gently strengthening your injured hamstring by lying on your stomach with your legs straight out behind you and bending your knee so that your heel comes up toward your buttocks. Bring it back down to the starting position. Repeat 10 times. Do 3 sets of 10. As this becomes easier you can wear ankle weights.
All material provided is designed for information purposes only and should not be used to replace the care of a health care professional. Do not rely on any of the information for diagnosis or treatment. It is recommended that you visit a qualified health care professional for individual and personal attention.