The hamstring is the compound word for a group of three muscles at the back of each upper leg or femur that connect to the sit bone in our pelvis. These hamstring muscles are involved in knee flexion and hip extension and play crucial roles in most daily activities including running, jumping and climbing. Runners commonly experience hamstring strains. Over the course of a run the hamstring muscles grow tighter making the muscle more susceptible to tears, this is especially true for sprinters. Hamstring pulls are more common in distant runners and result in micro tears of the muscle. The average time it takes the hamstring to heal a micro tear is a few days to 3 weeks. The more severe the tear the longer the healing time.
A slight strain may feel like a tightness or aching, whereas a more severe injury may be accompanied by extreme pain and tenderness in the area of the hamstring, with immediate swelling and some bruising. There are many routes of treatment for a pulled hamstring, but the initial treatment is the same for any grade of injury. Rest, ice, compression and elevation applied to the hurt leg are crucial. Once these initial treatments have taken place, the injury should be assessed by a physiotherapist to determine the extent of the damage. If left untreated the formation of scar tissue results in lingering pain, stiffness and loss of flexibility.
Preventing Hamstring Injuries
- Build strong glutes to protect you hamstrings ( squats, lunges and jumping)
- Stretch out hips before running
- Wear a compression wrap on your thigh during or after a run
- Relieve tightness after running and before with a foam roller
- When in pain or feeling tight opt to bike or swim and forgo running
- Ice your leg after a run if you are feeling inflamed
A hamstring injury shouldn’t sideline you from running. Stretch before you begin working out or running and when in doubt, stop and assess your injury early. By strengthening your hamstrings after you have recovered from an injury you will minimize your chance of a repeat injury or tear.
If you have been suffering with pain that prevents you from doing the things you enjoy, consult the pain management specialist at South Palm Orthopedics for an evaluation & treatment recommendation call today (561) 496-6622.
Dr. Brian E. Coleman is a board-certified, fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon, with expertise in foot and ankle surgery, sports medicine, fracture repair/reconstruction, and gait (limb movement) analysis. Dr. Coleman is a diplomate of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and a member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society. Our team of physicians provides an advanced level of care, integrating the newest cutting-edge surgical and nonsurgical techniques, with proven traditional methods of treatments. The physicians at South Palm Orthopedics are committed to providing the highest level of orthopedic care to each and every patient each and every time.