Have you ever strained or pulled your hamstring? If so than you know how painful this type of injury can be and that it can stop you from playing your sport for a little while. A pulled hamstring refers to an injury to one of the three hamstring muscles that can be found at the backside of the thigh. Often this type of injury occurs in athletes that participate in sports that require running, jumping, skating, cutting and kicking. Commonly, a hamstring strain occurs when the hamstring muscle group is overloaded while in an overstretched position.
So who is at risk for this type of injury? The latest research indicates that if you have previously “pulled your hamstring” than you are more likely to pull it again. The reason for this can be related to having a less flexible hamstring after an injury and also having weaker hamstring especially in a position where the hamstring is lengthened (AKA eccentric strength).
Treatment of an acute or recent hamstring strain usually involves RICE-rest, ice, compression and elevation for the first 24-48 hours. After this period of time, it is recommended that you visit an injury rehabilitation specialist such as a physiotherapist. Your physiotherapist will teach you exercises that are most appropriate for you depending on the severity of your injury. Also, they will use techniques such as muscle release/massage, laser therapy, acupuncture and other strategies that might be specific to your body. They will teach you how to improve your flexibility and eccentric muscle strength to prevent a recurrence of the injury. They may also recommend that you see a registered massage therapist if there is a lot of scar tissue (aka adhesions) or if your hamstrings are very tight.
Check out the following video on how to stretch your hamstrings so that you can prevent this type of injury from happening to you.
Remember, it is always best to do static stretches like this after an activity or in the evening before you go to bed. It is always advisable to see a healthcare professional before starting a new exercise or exercise program.