Recovering from a pulled hamstring can be a long process, but there are ways to speed it up. There are immediate steps you can take to reduce discomfort and swelling and long-term strategies you can implement to promote healthy repair. Here are some useful guidelines to recover from a pulled hamstring.
RICE refers to 4 steps you should take after a pulled hamstring. While it is important to visit a medical professional for serious injury, the following steps can be done right away: rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
A hamstring injury is often signaled by a sharp pain in the leg and, for some people, a popping sound. If you notice these symptoms, stop the activity and take weight off your legs by reclining. The sooner you treat your condition, the quicker your recovery will be. It's recommend to stay off your leg for at least 48 hours.
Apply ice to your leg as soon as possible. Wrap ice cubes in a towel and press on your injured area to prevent ice burn. You should apply ice every 2 to 3 hours for 2 days.
To reduce swelling, wrap an elastic bandage around the injured area. This will decrease the blood flow, which helps you be more comfortable and reduce bruising.
Finally, elevate your leg so that your hamstring is positioned higher than your heart. Lie down and prop your leg onto cushions. This direct blood flow away from the injury.
In order to speed your recovery, you should stretch every day. If your muscles feels too tight, reduce the number of exercises overall. The following stretches should be held for 5 to 10 seconds each.
Sit on the floor with your legs straight in front of you. Reach forward and hold your feet with back straight.
Stand on your good leg and extend the injured one to a table or chair. Keeping your back straight, lean forward and hold your foot.
Stand straight with your legs hip length apart. Bend over with straight back and grab your ankles.
Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the floor. Lean forward and reach for your feet until you feel a stretch.
Also, you'll need to do strengthening exercises to ensure your muscles heal correctly.
Sit on the floor with legs in front of you and knees bent. Reach forward and gently press your ankles down to the floor.
Recline on your stomach and lift legs one at a time by bending the knee and pushing the heel into the air. Do a set of 10 on each leg without weights and then add ankle weights.
Stand straight with an ankle weight on one foot. Bend knee and lift up your foot until it touches the back of your leg. Do 10 repetitions and change legs.
While recovering, there's no need to give up exercise altogether. Swimming is an excellent way to get a good workout without putting unnecessary pressure on your legs. Gradually, you can increase your exercise intensity with walking, light running, or jumping rope. It's important to be cautious, however, to prevent slowing down the recovery.