The hamstring is a term that refers to a group of muscles that are located in the upper part of the leg. This is a common sports injury in which the muscles that lie at the back of the thigh, are subjected to violent contractions, that cause forcible tearing of the muscles. A pulled hamstring can affect any one of the three muscles and is marked by swelling and pain, thereby making it difficult to carry out day-to-day routine.
As aforementioned, a pulled hamstring damages one of the 3 muscles of the leg. So, taking rest is of utmost importance. One should intentionally avoid activities that trigger pain. In some cases, the injury is so severe that the sufferer is unable to walk properly. People with serious structural damage are often advised complete rest for a week.
Application of ice is the most effective way to control and reduce the swelling. There is no need to directly apply the ice, instead cover the ice cubes in a soft cloth and then place it on the injured part. In another method, the sufferer is asked to sit by keeping an ice bag exactly below the hamstring. Now, the injured muscle is moved (if possible) by straightening the knee and again bringing the leg to its normal position.
In order to protect the injured muscle from further damage, use of an elastic wrap is recommended. This treatment method involves wrapping an elasticized bandage around the injured area to promote healing.
A soft tissue massage for hamstring can ease the muscle pain, loosen the tight muscles and promote circulation of blood in the injured portion. There are quite a few massage techniques recommended to recover from this injury.
Keeping the leg in an elevated position while sleeping will also help to decrease swelling associated with the injured muscles.
The doctor may also prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to reduce the swelling. For hamstring injuries, the most commonly used medicines to manage pain are acetaminophen and aspirin. However, these medicines fail to improve the symptoms of acute hamstring pull.
There are stretching exercises that help to strengthen and increase the flexibility of the injured muscles. These hamstring strengthening exercises should be performed 2-3 weeks after the injury, when the pain has subsided substantially. These exercises form an integral part of a pulled hamstring rehabilitation program.
This muscle injury though commonly observed in sprinters, can occur to anyone who neglect warm-ups before doing rigorous exercise. Jumping or sprinting, that puts excess strain on the muscles, are the most common causes of pulled hamstring. People playing basketball and tennis are also vulnerable to this type of injury.
People with this kind of muscle injury, experience sharp shooting pain while stretching the muscles during exercise. Bending or stretching the knee also causes pain at the back of the leg. Swelling and bruising in the upper portion of the leg are the other symptoms of this muscle injury.
The duration of treatment may even last for more than 2 months, depending upon the severity of the injury. A pulled hamstring that causes severe rupture or tear, is corrected surgically.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.