800_8990HAMSTRINGS.  They keep us upright and dancing.  When they work well we can kick, split and balance but when they are injured we can be out for a whole competition season.  If the injury is not treated properly it could be the end of our physie career.

If you only take one thing from this blog it should be this:  ICE on the INJURY and HEAT only during the HEALING process.  The treatment of a hamstring injury varies depending on the severity and where the injury is. There are 3 different muscles that make up the hamstring group and injury can occur anywhere from the hip to the knee.

hamstring musclesThe most important thing is to put ice on the injured area as soon after injury as possible and again after any muscle use in the recovery phase.  Ice will help limit the inflammatory reactions of the body and swelling.  

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Resting the hamstring is crucial to recovery. Rest relieves strain on the muscle, allows the swelling to subside and inflammation to settle down. You should not do any activity that stress the muscle or aggravate the injury.  The period of rest is different for every injury, from days to months depending on the severity, but insufficient resting time may prolong the injury.  Read on…

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Stretching is an important part of recovery but must be gentle, regular, controlled and pain-free.  A physiotherapist can produce a suitable stretching program for you. If you avoid stretching the injured muscle, scar tissue will develop which is not flexible like your  hamstring.  Then, when you ask your hamstring to stretch like it did before injury, the scar tissue prevents this and a tear develops somewhere else along the muscle.  Heating the muscle with a hot pack before stretching can help loosen it for an effective stretching session.

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Ongoing treatment with a physio or your own program is recommended for as long as it takes for the muscle to behave the way it did before injury.  Avoid exercises, movements or stretching that aggravate the injury.  Low impact exercise like cycling and swimming are recommended.

Photos by Nicole Macintosh