The hamstring muscle is collectively made of three different muscles: the semitendinosus, the semimembranosus, and the biceps femoris. This muscle is located inside the back of your thigh. It starts from the pelvis and runs through the length of the femur while crossing the back of your knee. From there, it attaches itself to the tibia and fibula. Your hamstring muscle helps the knee to flex, while contracting it. The smaller function of the hamstring muscle is to span across your hip, which aids in its extension.
Now the quadriceps help balance the hamstring muscle, which is situated on the front part of the thigh and help extend your knee. Both these muscles give fantastic power and stability to the knee joint. So, what happens here to give you a pulled hamstring? Let's go through the article to find out the right answers and treat it as well.
- Excess stretching of the hamstrings.
- Lack of strength in the hamstring muscle.
- Not enough flexibility given to the hamstrings and/or lower back.
- Imbalance of strength between the quadriceps and hamstrings.
- Skipping warm-ups before starting any type of exercise or physical activity.
- Too much stress on the hamstrings (self-inflicted or impacted from another person).
- Previous history of hamstring injury.
As the healing time is approximately 4 to 6 weeks, you have to be very careful while moving your leg for any kind of activity. According to the severity of your injuries, the healing time will differ. Your physician will evaluate and recommend proper treatment course. Apart from the more serious injuries, less severe strains can be treated at home itself. Here are some tips that can relieve the pain.
- Rest is must. The first and most important treatment step is to give the muscle some time to rest. For about 2 to 3 weeks, don't do any rigorous workout or sports activity.
- You will have to start doing some strengthening exercises. This will aid in rebuilding the strength in the hamstring muscle and prevent a re-injury.
- Opt for a stretching program after the swelling and pain has gone down. Don't start the program immediately as you might risk making it worse.
- Apply ice or ice pack over the muscle immediately and place a compression bandage tightly over the leg. Elevate your leg on a couple of pillows and take a breather. Your pain might go down a notch and reduce the swelling as well. The bandage helps in relieving some stress on the muscle.
- Massage arnica cream over the affected area. It's a homeopathic remedy that really works. No matter what your age is, you can apply it over the muscle. The skin will absorb it fairly quickly and relieve the overexerted muscle. You can try to stretch your leg, but stop if you feel the pain again.
- While using an ice pack helps, heat does the same trick. If the ice pack didn't do the trick, take a warm bath or apply a heating pad over the muscle. The warm water applied directly over the leg will help reduce the pain. The heat helps improve blood circulation and relax the muscle by decreasing the spasms and stiffness.
Pulled hamstring takes a lot of care and patience. So, make sure you visit your physician immediately and follow all his/her advice and instructions. Always do a warm-up before the workout and stretch after you're done.