How to Treat Pulled Hamstring

By S.F. Heron

Many athletes experience chronic pain from overexertion of the muscles on the back of the thigh. These muscles, called the hamstrings, control the basic bending and straightening movements of the leg. A pulled hamstring injury is painful and often features noticeable bruises, swelling and muscle spasms. Injuries to a hamstring can range from minor pulls or small tears to a complete rupture. Initial diagnosis is usually based on the severity of pain.It’s important to note that if you cannot walk without severe pain and you feel no relief after elevating, icing and resting your leg, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. The main method of treating a pulled hamstring is R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation). The following are steps for treating a minor pulled hamstring injury.

Rest is the first treatment for a hamstring injury. Rest your injury completely. Do not consider exercising your leg for at least 48 to 72 hours. Many people choose to walk on crutches for a few days to completely rest their leg.

Place an ice pack covered with a soft cloth against your hamstring for 10 to 20 minutes to reduce swelling. Never ice your hamstring for more than 20 minutes. It’s easiest to place the ice pack under your leg when you are sitting down.

Wrap your leg in an ace bandage to reduce swelling but make sure not to wrap the hamstring too tightly. The compression of the ace bandage helps reduce the swelling of the pulled muscle.

Elevate your leg across some pillows, making sure to lift the foot above the chest area. Elevation helps stimulate circulation in the leg that allows the muscle to heal.

Gentle massage and stretching are important for rehabilitating a pulled hamstring. Make sure not to massage too roughly and perform careful stretches to prevent re-injury.

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