I’ve Strained a Hammy!! What do I do?!



How do I know?

A ‘strain’ is an overstretching or tear that can occur in the muscle tissue. A hamstring strain feels like a sudden sharp pain at the back of your leg and an audible “popping” sound might be heard. 

How bad is it?

Hamstring strains are graded into 3 different categories:

Grade 1 is a mild muscle pull. There is no reduction in strength, there is full active and passive range of motion and pain & tenderness are often delayed to the next day.

Grade 2 is a partial tear usually accompanied by bruising, a dull pain & a minor reduction in muscle strength.

Grade 3 is a complete tear or rupture of the muscle. This means either the tendon is separated from the muscle belly or the muscle belly is actually torn in 2 parts. Severe swelling, pain and a complete loss of strength & function will be experienced.  


What do I do?

Initially, the RICE protocol (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) is important to reduce discomfort & necessary in the acute stage of healing. It is important to progress to a rehabilitation stage as soon as possible, recent research points towards as early as 2 days post injury is more effective than 9 days. 


Who should I see after straining my hammy?

Visit your Physiotherapist as soon as possible. Your physiotherapist will be able to diagnose the type of strain to plan the appropriate management that is right for your case as well as to address the biomechanics that may have led to the strain.

The most common mechanism of injury is an overstretched hamstring under high loads. Athletes most vulnerable play sports that incorporate running, sprinting, frequent stop starts such as basketball & soccer.

Your Physiotherapist may initially incorporate in your plan hands on techniques as an effective way to decrease discomfort and encourage the breaking up of scar tissue. This will be followed by returning mobility, flexibility, strength & stability via the right exercises depending on your goals and sport you would like to return to. 

Prevention is best! Start your pre-season now or start prepping to achieve a personal best by utilising PhysioWest’s Physiotherapy Team to strengthen your Hamstrings (and other weak spots) and hopefully never experience a Hamstring strain again. 


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