A pulled hamstring is the term used to describe an injury to any of the three hamstring muscles. Symptoms of a true hamstring pull or tear include pain at the back of the leg and while stretching, and swelling. There are a number of pulled hamstring treatment methods depending on the severity of the injury. To start with conservative treatments such as cold therapy and mobilization exercises are used. A sports therapist may also recommended specific hamstring stretches and strengthening exercises in order to speed up the healing process.
Cold therapy is one of the most effective early pulled hamstring treatment methods. It involves using ice while compressing and elevating the injured leg. During this time, the hamstring should be rested as much as possible to prevent further injury. The purpose of elevating and compressing the muscle is to reduce swelling which can increase pain and the time taken for a full recovery.
For the muscle to heal correctly, it needs to be mobilized. For this reason, pulled hamstring treatment often focuses on simple strengthening and stretching exercises that help to keep the muscle moving while avoiding pain. Any exercise that is painful, especially during the early stages after injury, should be avoided as this can signify more damage to the muscle.
A sports therapist will often be required to aid the recovery of a hamstring tear. Hamstring injuries are notorious for being difficult to manage and will often reoccur if the correct exercises aren’t performed. Aside from recommending an exercise routine a sports therapist may also try other treatment methods such as ultrasound to help stimulate blood flow in the area. For severe injuries crutches may also be provided.
Some pulled hamstring treatment therapists will utilize sports massage. This is a specific type of massage that helps to increase the blood flow to the muscle, breaks down the new collagen deposits and helps the muscle to correctly heal. It’s important that only a trained professional performs sports massage on an injured hamstring, however, as it requires a certain level of force and hence can cause additional problems.
In the worst cases surgery may be required. This is often only necessary if there is been a rupture to the muscle rather than a small tear. The surgeon will fix the rupture which then allows the body to heal. Surgery is usually only a last resort pulled hamstring treatment as it entails a long recovery time.