Do you have a Pulled Hamstring?  Are you missing your workouts or can’t get back onto the field?   It is common among people who participate in intense physical activity like soccer, ultimate frisbee, running, heavy-weight lifting, etc.  At Brightpath Health and Wellness, we can help with a Hamstring Strain.

We can provide support and treatment regardless of the severity of your strain.  While our physiotherapists are always ready to help, here are some steps you can take to accelerate the healing process. Here’s a look at what you can do

Ice Ice Baby

It is a good idea to ice the injury multiple times throughout the day to reduce inflammation and ease the strain. This is especially so in the first 72 hours when inflammation is still increasing during this period.  Here’s how you can do this effectively:

  • Apply ice on the injury site for 10 minutes at a time. 10 minutes off, 10 minutes off 10 minutes, which forms one icing cycle. Repeat the set 3 times for the best results.
  • Make sure there’s a barrier between your skin and the ice, to avoid discomfort. The barrier should be thin enough to let the temperature pass through but not thin enough to harm your skin.
  • Check your skin carefully between icing sets to make sure you aren’t experiencing any adverse reaction to the cold.
  • Once the inflammation is gone, you need to apply heat to soothe the muscles and get some pain relief. You can know when the heat is gone by paying attention to SHARP: swelling, heat, altered function, redness, and pain. If you don’t experience this, it is okay to apply heat.

Don’t apply heat on an inflamed area because that might perpetuate the cycle of swelling and cause long-term issues. Cold is the ideal pulled hamstring treatment and should be applied immediately after the injury occurs to minimize inflammation. 

Avoid Stretching & Rest

Don’t stretch strained and overstressed hamstring muscles. That will do more harm than good, especially if the inflammation hasn’t receded entirely.  Rest from all exercises or playing sports that might aggravate the injury. Here’s what you can do instead:

  • Look out for any lingering signs of inflammation by touching the skin above the injury. If the skin feels too warm or if the area is swollen, don’t perform any stretches. It may take 2-3 weeks before you can start even simple stretches.
  • If there is no sign of inflammation, perform gentle stretches to strengthen the muscles and remove stiffness. You might feel some discomfort during the stretches, but you shouldn’t feel any acute pain.  At home, this may be tricky to decide if it is safe to begin stretching.  This is when the advice of a licensed Physiotherapist is invaluable.
  • Pace youself and don’t go overboard with stretches and exercises because that can aggravate the injury or delay your recovery. 

Also read – Avoid Back Pain During Road Trips


Gentle Knee Movements

Pain-free knee range of movement (flexion and extension) can help you slowly regain strength. It could be as simple as sitting on a chair as you bend and straighten your leg or riding a stationary bike.

As the tendons and muscles become stronger, you can start with these exercises and then move onto more physically intensive ones. As long as you don’t overdo it, this process shouldn’t cause any additional injury.

Visit a Physiotherapist

It is a good idea to visit a physiotherapist immediately after the injury to control your healing process. If you have any severe pain, weakness, extensive bruising, swelling, and inflammation, a professional provide effective treatment. They will check to determine the extent of the injury and come up with a therapy plan. They will monitor your injury carefully during the healing period to ensure a full recovery as quickly as possible.

A Physiotherapist helps you to perform all exercises and stretches safely. They will correct your technique, set limits, and recommend activities to help you recover completely from the injury.

Our goal is to make sure your injured tendons heal fully, and without lingering weakness. If this process isn’t handled well, you may be more prone to future problems and could experience tendon strain frequently. We will make sure your hamstring injury recovery process is effective.  Working with a professional physiotherapist is key to avoid a delay in your recovery. 

Brightpath Health and Wellness is here to help!   We are located conveniently at Yonge & Sheppard, in the heart of North York.  

Written by: Andy Park, MScPT