A pulled hamstring of low severity can be treated at home; for higher severity tears, help may be necessary from a physical therapist or family doctor.
Pulled hamstrings are common injuries, not just due to running or playing football, but from every day activity, too. Hamstring muscles work to bend the knee and extend the hips, and any activity that involves bending and then straightening the leg can cause a pull, from jumping hurdles to sprinting to catch the bus. Pulled hamstring treatment can be done at home, as long as the injury is mild with complementary therapy aids.
Here are some tips for quickly gaining pulled hamstring relief.
Pulled Hamstring Severity
There are three levels of a hamstring pull. Anyone experiencing a pulled hamstring should confirm the severity of his/her injury before starting treatment at home. A doctors advice may be required.
Grade 1: Discomfort when walking caused by tightness in the back of the thigh. There are only minor tears in this case, so only minimal swelling occurs.
Grade 2: This is a partially torn muscle, which causes a limp when trying to walk, the inability to straighten the knee fully, and occasional pain twinges. Swelling is more likely, and if the injured area is pressed on, the patient will feel pain.
Grade 3: These injuries are rare, and require immediate attention by a doctor. Walking is so difficult that crutches may be necessary, severe pain is present, and swelling is immediate and large.
Anyone experiencing a grade 2 or 3 pulled hamstring should visit their doctor for advice and treatment.
Treating a Pulled Hamstring
An injured person should follow the RICE advice: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.
Rest: Rest the leg often, but not at all times. Inactivity can hamper healing.
Ice: Use an ice pack (or bag of frozen peas, wrapped in a dish cloth) on the strained hamstring for 15 20 minute sessions. Repeat several times each day for the first three days after injury.
Compression: Use a compression bandage, but dont wrap it too tight.
Elevate: While resting the leg or while using the ice pack, keep it propped up and elevated.
In addition to the RICE treatment, the patient can begin gentle stretching around the area. Move slowly, and hold the movement before any pain develops.
If the pain hasnt eased within three days, a doctor should be contacted. The pulled hamstring could be a more significant tear than originally thought, and physical therapy may be required.
Preventing a Pulled Hamstring
Good health, fitness, flexibility and strength are all key factors to preventing muscle pulls and strains. Being tired is another precursor to injury, as coordination may be hampered. A person new to exercising should always check with their doctor before starting new forms of exercise, and should move at a pace thats comfortable while he/she works on increasing strength and flexibility. Seasoned athletes should remember to never skip their warm-ups or cool-downs, and to get enough rest before a big game, event, or practice. Sports injuries, such as hamstring pulls, can be prevented.
Luckily, though hamstring pulls are common, they can also be easily treated at home. Remember, though, that if a muscle is still in pain after three days, it’s time to visit a doctor.