The hamstring muscles include 3 muscles that comprise the rear part of the thigh. The hamstring is responsible for bending the lower leg at the knee and pulling the leg backwards. It simply means that an individual uses these muscles for activities that involve kicking, running and dancing.
Injuries to the hamstring muscles are considered as common injuries and graded on the basis of 1-3 when it comes to severity. In the most severe cases of hamstring injuries, it causes the tendons to tear away from the bone. Once the individual sustained a hamstring injury, there are various treatment options that must be carried out right away in order to reduce the severity of the injury and prevent further injuries from developing.
An injury to the hamstring can trigger pain and throbbing sensations in the rear part of the leg. The individual can also experience some leg swelling. The immediate treatment must include resting the hamstring injury especially the exercises that caused the injury in the first place.
Apply an ice pack over the affected leg. It must stay in place for about 10-15 minutes over the affected area. This must be repeated at least 2 more times throughout the day to minimize the inflammation. It is also recommended to apply a compression bandage around the thigh to help reduce the swelling.
The individual can also lie down and elevate the leg on a few pillows or cushions to promote the flow of blood and lymph away from the affected leg, thus reducing the swelling.
Length of treatment
Once an individual endured a hamstring injury, the individual should continue the anti-inflammatory treatment for at least 48-72 hours so that the affected muscles are allowed enough time to adequately rest to start the healing process. It is vital to wait at least 3-4 days after sustaining the injury before applying heat since this can actually cause the blood vessels to swell even more.
Stretching the hamstring
When the hamstring of the individual starts to feel less tender, he/she should try to engage in stretching exercises in order to prevent the muscles from becoming tense. The hamstrings should be stretched in various ways.
One of the most comfortable is to stretch out the legs and lean forward slightly until the stretch is felt in the rear part of the legs. The individual should hold this position for up to a minute and then release. This can be repeated as needed.
Another stretching technique is to position the affected leg up on a wall. This position is held for about 30 seconds and then released after.
Strengthening the hamstring
After the affected hamstring is given enough time to heal and is no longer tender or swollen, the individual should engage in a strengthening exercise. Always bear in mind that the once the hamstring muscles are stronger, it helps minimize the risk for ending up with a strain.