If you’re reading this, then you’re probably in the same boat I was in just a few weeks ago: You’ve had a pulled hamstring, and it really sucks. Hamstring strains are no joke, and they can put you out of commission for weeks (or even months) if you’re not careful.
But don’t despair. There are things you can do to speed up the healing process and get back to your normal self as quickly as possible. In this article, I’ll talk about different ways how to heal a hamstring strain fast.
Before we dive into how to heal a hamstring strain, let’s take a quick look at the anatomy of the hamstring muscles.
The hamstrings are a group of three muscles in the back of the thigh: the biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus. These muscles work together to bend the knee and extend the hip.
The biceps femoris is a muscle with two heads, or origins: a long head and a short head. The long head originates from the back of the pelvis, while the short head originates from the back of the thigh bone. This is also the most common muscle that gets injured in a hamstring strain.
The semimembranosus is closest to the middle of your body, located next to the semitendinosus. It flexes the knee and extends the hip.
The semitendinosus is found between the semimembranous and biceps femoris. It has the same function as the semimembranosus.
All three muscles originate at the ischial tuberosity, a bony protrusion on the pelvis. The long head of the biceps femoris also has a tendon that attaches to the fibula, which is the smaller bone in the lower leg.
The hamstrings attach to the bones of the lower leg via tendons. And the tendons of the biceps femoris muscle attach to the head of the fibula (the smaller bone on the outside of the leg), while the tendons of the semitendinosus and semimembranosus muscles attach to the inside of the tibia (the larger bone in the lower leg).
The primary function of the hamstring muscles are:
- Extend and rotate the hip joint
- Bend and stabilize the knee joint
If you’ve strained your hamstring, you’ll likely feel the following symptoms:
- A sharp pain or a popping sensation in the back of your thigh
- Swelling or bruising in the affected area
- Difficulty walking or bearing weight on the leg
- Muscle weakness
- A popping or snapping sound at the time of injury
This pain will worsen with activity, and you may also feel tenderness or bruising in the area. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor or other medical professional and get an accurate diagnosis.
The most prevalent kind of sports injury is hamstring muscle strain. According to one research, they are responsible for almost 37% to 47% of all soccer injuries. Here are the common causes of hamstring strains.
Overexertion is also a common cause of hamstring strains. This happens when you try to do too much, too fast without giving your muscles time to adjust or warm up properly. This is often seen in athletes who are coming back from an injury and try to do too much too soon.
A sudden impact or force can also cause a hamstring strain. This might happen if you fall on your leg, or if you get hit by something.
Repetitive motion happens when you do the same movement over and over again, such as running or cycling. This can lead to the muscle becoming fatigued and more susceptible to injury.
If you have poor flexibility, it can also make you more likely to strain your hamstring. This is because tight muscles are more likely to be injured when they’re stretched beyond their limits.
There are three grades of hamstring strains, depending on how severe the injury is.
Grade 1: Mild hamstring strains or pulls that causes some pain and tenderness but don’t significantly affect your ability to walk or move your leg.
Grade 2: A moderate strain that causes more significant pain and tenderness, and may make it difficult to walk or bear weight on your leg. In a nutshell, it’s a partial muscle tear.
Grade 3: A severe strain that causes complete muscle tear, and may require surgery to repair.
Most hamstring strains will take at least a few weeks to heal on their own or with some physical therapy. However, a severe hamstring tear may take several months.
If you have a minor hamstring strain, you may be able to return to your normal activities within a few days. It’s important to take it easy and not push yourself too hard. Otherwise, you may risk re-injuring your hamstring.
It’s a no-brainer for anyone with injured hamstring muscles to want to recover quickly. Unfortunately, there is no quick fix for this type of injury. However, there are a few things you can do to help speed up the healing process.
The acronym RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation. This is a common treatment for all kinds of injuries, including hamstring strains. By following the RICE protocol, you can help reduce swelling and pain.
This might seem like an obvious one, but it’s important nonetheless. When you first injure your hamstring, it’s important to take some time off from activities that put stress on the muscle.
However, this doesn’t mean that you have to stay in bed all day. You can still go about your normal activities, but you should avoid returning to activities like running, jumping, or any strenuous exercise that could make your injury worse.
Ice is a great way to reduce pain and inflammation in the hamstring. It’s best to apply ice for 20-30 minutes at a time, several times a day.
After the first few days of icing your hamstring, you can start to use heat to help with healing. The heat helps to increase blood flow and can relax the muscles around your injury. Just be sure not to use heat if your hamstring is still swollen or painful.
Elevating the injured leg when you’re resting will also help to reduce pain and swelling. Try to prop your leg up on a pillow when you’re sitting or lying down.
Compressing the hamstring with an elastic bandage can also help to reduce pain and swelling. Be sure not to wrap the bandage too tightly, as this can cut off circulation.
Once initial pain and swelling have gone down, you can begin physical therapy to help strengthen the muscle and prevent future injury.
Your physical therapist will likely give you a series of exercises to do that will help stretch and strengthen your hamstring. They may also use massage or other techniques to help with healing.
It might seem counterintuitive, but exercising the hamstring can actually help it to heal faster. Light exercises that don’t put too much strain on the muscle, such as slow walking or gentle stretching, can help to increase blood flow and speed up the healing process.
Massages can be incredibly helpful for healing hamstring strains. They help to increase blood flow, break down scar tissue and loosen up the muscles around your injury
If you can, get a professional massage once or twice a week. But even self-massage can be beneficial. Just be careful not to massage the actual site of your injury, as this can aggravate it.
There are a few different supplements that can help with healing from hamstring strains. Omega-3 fatty acids, turmeric, and ginger all have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce swelling and pain. Talk to your doctor about whether or not these supplements are right for you.
If your hamstring strain is a severe injury, surgery may be necessary to repair the muscle. This is usually only done as a last resort, and most people are able to heal the muscle without surgery.
To repair a ruptured hamstring tendon, the surgeon will make an incision in the back of the thigh. They will then reattach the tendon to the bone with stitches or metal implants. In some cases, a graft from another tendon may be used to repair the damage.
After surgery, you will likely need to stay in the hospital for a few days. You will then need to keep weight off of your leg for 6-8 weeks to allow the tendon to heal properly. Braces or crutches may be necessary to help you keep weight off of your leg.
Physical therapy will also be a part of your recovery, and it may take several months before you’re able to return to your normal activities.
During your recovery, it’s important to listen to your body and not try to do too much too soon. Pushing yourself too hard can lead to re-injury of the muscle.
There are always new developments in the world of medicine, and hamstring strains are no exception.
One new development that is showing promise is the use of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections. PRP is a concentration of platelets that are found in your blood. These platelets contain growth factors that can help to speed up the healing process.
Injecting PRP into the site of your injury can help to reduce pain and speed up healing. This treatment is still relatively new, so more research is needed to determine how effective it is.
Acupuncture is another new treatment that is being used for hamstring strains. This ancient Chinese practice involves inserting thin needles into the skin at specific points.
It is thought to help with pain by stimulating the release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural pain-relieving chemicals. It can also help to increase blood flow and reduce inflammation.
However, more research is needed to determine how effective acupuncture is for treating hamstring strains, but it may be worth a try if you’re looking for alternative treatments.
The best way to prevent hamstring strains is to warm up properly before exercise and stretch the muscle regularly. Wearing proper shoes and using proper form when exercising can also help to reduce your risk of injury.
You may also strengthen your hamstring muscles by doing exercises such as Nordic Hamstring Curls which you can perform on benches. However, if you do start to feel pain in your hamstring, it’s important to rest and ice the area. Continuing to exercise through the pain can make the injury worse.
Also, if you have a history of hamstring strains you may wear a hamstring brace or perform exercises that strengthen the muscles around the hamstrings.
You should also avoid overexerting yourself, as this can put you at risk for injury. If you do experience a hamstring strain, it’s important to seek treatment right away and follow your doctor’s instructions for recovery.
Hamstring strains can be painful and frustrating injuries, but there are treatments available that can help you heal quickly. Be sure to listen to your body, warm up properly, and stretch regularly to help prevent these types of injuries. If you do experience a hamstring strain, don’t hesitate to seek treatment so you can get back to your normal activities as soon as possible.