Don't Stretch that Pulled Hamstring!

Sep 02, 2023

Or any other pulled/strained muscle. Pulled or strained hamstrings can result in bruising, inflammation, pain, and soreness. The causes or risk factors that put you at risk of this injury can include stiffness, lack of proper warm up, high quad to hamstring ratio, fatigue, hamstring weakness when compared to opposite leg, or poor lumbar posture and core stability. The biggest risk factor for a hamstring strain is if you have had one before, this more than doubles the risk of re-injury.

As fall approaches athletes are getting into their sports again. Whether it's football, soccer, track, or any other sport there is a risk of injury. More than likely yourself or someone you know will pull their hamstring. It's important to learn how to manage this injury in order for this to not be a nagging problem for the rest of the season.

The hamstrings are located behind the top part of your leg and includes 3 muscles (semitendinosus, biceps femoris, and semimembranosus). The most common one injured is the biceps femoris which is on the outside part of your leg. Let's get a light break down on how a muscle strain repairs itself. A strain is essentially a tear of the muscle. Whenever there is an injury to the muscle a hematoma fills the gap in the tear. Then connective scar tissue replaces that hematoma and holds it together. Regenerating fibers then penetrate that scar tissue to make it stronger until a myotendinous junction is formed in 10 days post injury. After day 10 the scar tissue is essentially stronger than the fibers themselves but contraction remains weak. It is very important within the first 10-14 days to not stretch a strained muscle due to the risk of re-injuring that area. Stretching will prolong that healing process and increase the amount of time when returning to sport. During these first 2 weeks and after you should seek a physical therapist to follow specific guidelines of rehabilitation. Later, I will include a short video tutorial on my IG page @activebodyphysiotherapy to show early, middle, and late stage exercises to perform after a hamstring tear.

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