The hamstring is comprised of 3 muscles that start at the ischial tuberosity and travel all the way to the back part of the leg until they connect with bone right beneath the knee. Due to the coverage of the muscle group that covers the hip and the knee, it responds to 2 sets of forces from top to bottom which serves as both a knee flexor and hip extensor.
It is sad to note that the hamstring is not perfectly structured for sports. Take note that the proximal hamstring and distal hamstring have poor blood supply, thus they have slow healing rates. As for the central, meaty region of the hamstring, it has a good supply of blood and heals rapidly. Once the hamstring is damaged, a vital point in fixing the damage is to determine first the injury. A pulled hamstring or strain typically occurs if the individual pushes too hard during practice and neglecting the pain cues.
How to manage pain from a pulled hamstring
- When pain in the hamstring is felt, the individual should stop what he/she is doing. It is not advisable to push through any activity since it will only make it worse.
- If possible, avoid activities that strain on the hamstring. Only engage in intense upper body and core workouts to maintain fitness.
- After the injury, start the application of an ice pack or cold compress on the affected muscle for 15 minutes every session at 4-6 times a day for the initial 2 days.
- After a few days, the individual should perform gentle hamstring stretching several times throughout the day.
Depending on the severity of the pulled hamstring or strain, the healing time ranges from 2-8 weeks.
After the injury
Once the pain subsides, the individual can steadily ease back into activity. When it comes to severe cases of pulled hamstrings, the injury can heal after 8 weeks. If pain is still present after that period, a doctor should be consulted.
Diagnostic testing such as ultrasound and MRI might be performed to reveal any issues on the muscles and the actual degree of damage sustained as well as other unrelated issues.
In some cases, physical therapy and other remedies might be recommended. The latest treatment options including platelet-rich plasma (PRP) might offer relief to those with persistent hamstring injuries. During the treatment, the plasma of the individual is administered intravenously into the site of injury to hasten the healing since these areas have poor blood supply.
Whether the individual is a beginner in a particular sport or a seasoned athlete, it is vital to know when to take a break once the pain cues are present. Overstraining or engaging in highly strenuous activities that involves the hamstrings can eventually lead to a pulled hamstring injury or other related issues in the long run.