Best Ways to Recover After a Hamstring Injury

Hamstring Injury Ooltewah, TN

A hamstring injury occurs in the area of the hamstrings, which is a collective word for the set of three muscles located at the back of the femur or upper leg. These three muscles, called semimembranosus, semitendinosus, and bicep femoris, play an active role in our physical activities, especially jumping, climbing, and running. A hamstring injury damages one or all of the three muscles or tendons.

Levels of hamstring injury

Hamstring injury happens in three grades:

Grade 1: A minor strain that does not affect walking but will limit the person's speed.

Grade 2: A fractional muscle tear that causes limping, quick and uncomfortable twitches, and swelling.

Grade 3: Total tear of the muscles, causing extreme pain. The person may require crutches, and the leg will swell visibly. This injury is common in football and happens to pro and amateur athletes alike.

Immediate treatments for a pulled hamstring

The first one to five days after the injury is the acute stage. People should take a break immediately after the injury to prevent the condition from worsening. Do not attempt to keep going.

The treatment routine "RICE" is highly effective here: rest, ice, compression, and elevation. As much as possible, keep the leg restrained and try not to make sudden movements that may aggravate the pain. Wrap ice packs in a towel and place them on the injured area as soon as possible for about 15 to 20 minutes and repeat every two or three hours.

Compression will help relieve possible inflammation. Compress the area with a brace or compression shorts to find substantial pain relief. The reason compression helps is that it decreases muscle vibration and protects the muscle to make it efficient and less prone to injury. Elevating or raising the leg above the body or the heart level will help keep swelling in check and limit possible internal bleeding. After the first aid treatment, a physiotherapist should evaluate the condition for the level of damage, usually by checking physical changes like tenderness, lumps, and flexibility.

If the person experiences unbearable pain following the hamstring injury, pain medications may be necessary. The doctor may prescribe analgesics such as codeine or paracetamol or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and muscle relaxants to stop the pain by curbing inflammation. In the initial stage of the injury, the person may require crutches for support and mobility.

Studies have shown that getting immediate treatment has immense benefits, including faster pain relief, improved healing rate, faster recovery rate, and better scar tissue quality. If neglected, the pain will linger and worsen over time. The scar tissue will form abnormally, and the muscle may suffer permanent damage. Surgery is not normally necessary for hamstring injuries.

Gentle motion and stretches

Patients should gently move the leg as much as is safe during the acute phase. The movement should not be forceful. The best approach to keep the region moving is to walk. If there is considerable discomfort, take smaller, more frequent steps. Gently floating or jogging in a swimming pool may also be an option if the discomfort does not increase.

Patients should stretch the hamstring with caution as therapy progresses. Mobilization and mild stretching may help preserve hamstring and lower leg flexibility. Keep the hamstrings loose and flexible. Hamstring rehabilitation exercises may include doctor-recommended stretches, foam rolling, and self-mobilization techniques.

Strengthen the glutes, hips, and hamstring muscles

Leg, glute, and hip muscles weakness is frequent following an accident, and this was likely one of the factors that led to the injury in the first place. Increasing the strength of these muscle groups can help prevent re-injury and future hamstring and lower back pain difficulties.


Water makes up the majority of the human body and is essential to all of its activities. During recovery, patients should drink more water. The body's ability to repair itself and remove metabolic wastes is directly related to water intake. Dehydrated tissues are more vulnerable to damage because they cannot get the nutrients they need to mend and repair. A continuous flow of nutrients to and from the site of damage is important.

Additional points to note

Deep tissue massage directly on the muscle tendon is a more effective method of tendon healing. Make an appointment with your doctor if the pain persists for longer than two weeks or if it gets more severe.

There is no need to stop working out if you have a hamstring strain. Consult with the physical therapist to devise an exercise program that will aid injury recovery.

For the best results, make sure you wear the correct footwear while getting back into your regular activities. While your body is healing, try performing low-impact cross-training exercises such as spinning and swimming to stay fit.

Request an appointment here: or call Spine & Joint Regenerative Medicine at (423) 424-1529 for an appointment in our Ooltewah office.

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