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What are the Different Types of Hamstring Therapy?

Article Details
  • Written By: Eric Stolze
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 26 March 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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In many cases, patients with injuries to their hamstring muscles benefit from one or more types of hamstring therapy. Most doctors prescribe hamstring therapy that includes a period of rest and immobilization of the hamstring muscles that may be followed by physical therapy or rehabilitation. In cases of severe injuries, some individuals may undergo surgery as part of their prescribed treatment plan.

The hamstrings are muscles that run along the back of each of a person’s thighs and many people sustain injuries to these muscles. Hamstring therapy typically begins with a common protocol that includes rest, as well as ice, compression and elevation (RICE). A doctor may prescribe crutches during hamstring therapy and encourage a patient to refrain from putting weight on an injured leg. Ice packs may be applied to an injured muscle during several 20-minute sessions each day, and an elastic compression bandage can minimize swelling and blood loss in many cases. Patients may rest in a reclined position with an affected leg elevated higher than the heart.

A knee splint may be worn for a brief time period to keep an injured hamstring in a neutral position and encourage quicker healing. After the pain and swelling of an injured muscle have improved, many physicians recommend physical therapy or rehabilitation. A physical therapist generally suggests a number of exercises for a patient to perform on a regular schedule in order to restore muscle flexibility and strength, to improve a leg’s range of motion and to assist a patient in returning to the normal physical activities that he performed prior to the injury. Milder injuries may require up to six weeks of healing, while more severe injuries may need several months of recovery time. In some severe hamstring injuries, a tendon can pull completely away from a bone, and prescribed hamstring therapy can include surgical repair of a torn muscle.

People typically have three hamstring muscles in each thigh: the biceps femoris, the semitendinosus and the semimembranosus. These muscles normally begin in the lower part of the pelvis, cross over the knee joint and extend to the lower leg. An individual’s hamstring muscles are important in the normal extension of a leg and the bending of a knee. This type of injury typically results from sporting events or other activities that place an excessive strain on an affected muscle. In addition to athletes, people with poor muscle flexibility and individuals with past hamstring injuries usually have an increased risk of developing an injured hamstring.

Common symptoms of an injured hamstring can include a tearing or popping sensation in a hamstring muscle as well as a sharp and sudden pain in the back portion of the thigh during a physical activity. Tenderness and swelling may develop within a few hours of an injury, and the injured area of a leg may have a bruised and discolored appearance. Other signs of an injured muscle can include weakness of the affected muscles and an inability to place weight on the leg. In most cases, patients can receive beneficial advice from a physician about treating a suspected hamstring injury.

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