Basic Hamstring Injury Exercises
Basic Hamstring Injury Exercises – A hamstring strain refers to an injury or partial tear of the proximinal hamstring muscles. A hamstring strain is a common sports injury to athletes who are required to perform quick and hard muscular movements. Hamstring injury exercises are caused by violent muscular exertions sometimes tearing away a part of the tendinous origins of the hamstrings especially to biceps femoris from the ischial tuberosity. A hamstring injury is sometimes referred to as “pulled hamstring” which may have caused by a direct blow or accidental punched at the muscle located at the back of thigh. When this happens, there may appear contusions (bruises), swelling, tearing of some of the muscle fibers and rupture of blood vessels, producing blood clot or hematoma, with a feeling of soreness. The degree of the injury sustained can be determined by its appearance and symptoms:
* Bruises in the thigh area. Muscle tears will cause the tissue to bleed and bruise. The discoloration usually starts within the first few days upon impact starting at the thigh region and further down the knee towards the foot area.
* Swelling in the thigh during the first few hours after injury. Blood tends to build up due to the injury causing the thigh area to swell. Any other muscle movement or contraction can be very difficult and painful. The application of compressive bandage within the affected part can help suppress the swelling.
* Spasm. The most common reaction in hamstring injury is muscle pain. In case the pain continues despite first aid medications, muscle relaxants may be administered to help ease the pain.
* Difficulty of contractions. Sudden movements in the knee would be painful after a hamstring strain and may hamper the patient from walking normally. If contraction continues, the hamstring muscle may be completely ruptured.
* Weakness in the hamstring can persist for weeks for severe cases.
Function of Hamstring
There hamstring muscles are grouped into three called semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and biceps femoris, collectively called as the hamstring muscle group. The function of hamstring is for flexing or bending leg from the knee joint extending up to the thigh at hip joint. Knowing how the hamstrings work will give us the extent of the injury when the hamstrings are dislocated. The hamstrings are vital in our daily activities and bodily movements like walking, running, and jumping. In addition, hamstring controls the movements of the lower body. Despite these functions, hamstrings are not very elastic compared to other muscles and are prone to stress and pressure.
Severity of a Pulled Hamstring
Due to sudden extended pull on the legs, like kicking or performing a kick, athletes involved in sports like track and field, soccer, and basketball are prone to hamstring injury. To avoid injury to the leg and thigh, athletes has to undergo hamstring injury exercises or warm-up exercises before embarking to extensive workouts. A minor hamstring injury or “Grade 1” injuries can take about two weeks to heal. The tearing injury is usually microscopic that happened on the muscle fibers causing the muscle to bleed. A “Grade 2” injury is a partial tear in the muscle. While in severe hamstring strains or “Grade 3” injuries, healing may take to three months or even more. When this happens, the hamstring muscle can be wholly damage that may need surgical operations to treat the affected region. In case of a complete rupture, rehabilitation is required. Grades 2 and 3 injuries are considered serious cases requiring assistance from a sport’s doctor, physical therapist, or trainer to help in the rehabilitation.
Treatment for pulled Hamstring
A hamstring injury can be a minor pull, a partial tear or a complete tear. Treatment for a pulled hamstring must start at once following an injury. The first 48 hours is vital and critical to the patient. Most hamstring injury responds well to plain, non-surgical treatments. For minor hamstring injury, the following treatment may be carried out by the athlete themselves or with some help. Recommended treatment for hamstring injury include rest, ice treatment, compression, and leg elevation.
* Cold therapy treatment. Apply ice directly to the injury at least 15 to 20 minutes within two to three hours for two days to reduce tenderness and pain. A thin towel may be used to protect the skin from ice burn. If there is swelling, continue to apply the therapy until swelling is reduced.
* Use of compression bandage. The bandage will give support and help reduce swelling. This will provide soothe leg sore and minimize intra-muscular bleeding.
* Leg elevation. To reduce swelling, the injured leg should be placed higher than your heart while resting. This will enable blood and fluid to guard against hamstring injury. Leg elevation must also be done during cold therapy treatment to help reduce the swelling.
* Leg therapy. If the leg pain and soreness had settled down, physical therapy can now begin. Mobilization of the injured lower limb is good to rehabilitate the muscle in the leg and thigh to restore strengths and muscle vitality.
Hamstring injury exercises; recommended
An injured hamstring takes a longer period to heal. For its full recovery, you need hamstring injury exercises such as stretching. If the leg strain is minor, then body exercises can start after two days from the happening of the injury. Continue with the ice treatment for one or two days until swelling disappeared. However, if the injury is severe, it may take ten to three months rehabilitation. For improved pain management and strength, hamstrings are trained with muscular movements like the knee curl, lifting as well as lower body exercises like stretching, walking, jogging, hopping, cycling and others.
* Stretching. It is vital for tight muscles and joints. Stretching will improve movements in the joint and promotes muscle flexibility, strength, increase endurance and improve muscle movements.
* Using weights for strength. When the injured hamstring became stronger, you can carry some weights to strengthen the muscle. Strenuous muscle training would most likely cause muscles to ache. Do not overdo, start in small amount of weight until your body get used to it. Always start with warm up exercises before indulging in excessive weight training. Hamstring warm-ups could include leg swings, standing bicycle, and lightweights.
* Walking, jogging, hopping, or cycling can be done gradually. At home, you can use some basic exercises like climbing stairs, or doing some household chores to increase strength and stamina.
Post-operative exercises must have the supervision of the attending physician or the physical therapist. If there is feeling of tightness or stiffness of the hamstrings, reduce the amount of exercises or just maintain stretching to make the muscle feel loose and comfortable. Until your injured hamstring is ready to resume sport activities, maintain the recommended hamstring injury exercises to keep the muscles fit and in good shape. Follow the exercises discussed above, to strengthen the hamstrings and prevent injury to your leg.