Hamstring pulls are very common. The hamstring is actually a group of three muscles, not one. It has two functions: it bends your knee and flexes at the hip to bend your leg back, so it is a common injury in sprinters, football players and soccer players.
Dr. Etty Griffin, an orthopedic and sports medicine specialist, discusses about hamstring pulls and how to treat them. She noted that although this injury is commonly called a “pull,” it is actually a little tear in the muscle. If the tear is mild, you would experience some tenderness, but not severe pain, and would be able to walk. However, if you have a severe hamstring tear, you would not be able to walk, and would experience severe pain and bruising.
For mild tears, the best treatment is the RICE formula.
– Take a break from exercise for three to six weeks to give your hamstring time to heal.
– Use a cold compress, like frozen peas or ice cubes in a plastic bag wrapped with a wash cloth, as soon as you can. This will help reduce pain and swelling.
– I recommend wearing compression shorts or an ACE bandage to keep pressure on muscle.
– Elevate your leg as soon as possible to help reduce swelling.
If your follow the RICE formula for two to three days and you feel good, you can gradually start walking, building up to jogging again after a few weeks. If you have a lot of pain or bruising, see your physician.
Ideally, you should stretch properly after a workout to prevent an injury. When you begin exercising again, start slowly so you do not re-injure the muscle.