Treatment of a hamstring injury should start straight away to help limit the damage and reduce pain. The most important phase for treatment is within the first 48 hours post injury.
1) Stop your activity
2) RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate
If the grade1 injury you are managing does not improve in a couple of days or the injury is a more severe grade 2 or 3, it is best to seek further advice to get an accurate diagnosis of the injury and the most appropriate treatment plan.
Physiotherapy provides rehabilitation and support
• Soft tissue therapy and ultra-sound treatment is excellent for reducing scar adhesions and promoting healing
• A stretching program can be started as soon as pain and swelling subsides to encourage full pain free movement
Examples of some stretches:
Use your hands to support the hip at 90°, then actively straighten the knee. Using the Quadriceps in this action can allow for a better lengthening of the hamstrings. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.
You can progress this then by using a band or a towel around the foot to increase the stretch.
Sitting to the edge of a chair, extend the knee, then keeping your back long, fold forwards from the hip and you will feel a stretch along the back of your thigh (hamstrings) hold for 30 seconds and repeat 3 times.
A strengthening program to not only rebuild strength in injured muscles, but also to address any muscle imbalance problems, which could predispose to injury. Incorporating core stability and dynamic control: Pilates based exercises.
Examples of some strengthening exercises:
On your back with your knees folded, then extend one knee, keeping the leg lengthened away. Push your heel into the floor to push your knee away, extending your hips up into a shoulder bridge. Aim to keep the pelvis level. Repeat 10 times and then repeat on the opposite leg.
In standing, take the weight through one leg keeping the knee soft and good posture. Keeping the spine long, take the weight forwards lifting the back leg to fold at the hip then slowly return to standing. Repeat 10 times then repeat on the opposite leg.