It’s important to avoid anything that can irritate the hamstring or increase inflammation within 72 hours of injury.
A common mistake among athletes is to stretch, massage, or try strengthening exercises for the hamstring within 72 hours of the strain. These activities can help in phase 2 but will exacerbate the injury in phase 1.
No HARM stands for “No Heat, Alcohol, Running, or Massage” within 72 hours of the strain. After 72 hours, you may add some of these back in (based on how the hamstring feels) except for running.
Avoid running and other physical activities that irritate the hamstring for at least three weeks.
Phase 2: Treatment Plan to Build Strong, Healthy Hamstrings
After the appropriate immediate care outlined in phase 1, you will restore your hamstrings in phase 2 so that you can return to sport as soon as possible without the risk of reinjury.
The key to succeeding in phase 2 is to do everything gradually. You’ll start with very mild stretching, strengthening, massage, and aerobic exercises and increase the intensity and duration only if the hamstring does not bother you.
Hamstring specific strengthening exercises such as 3 sets x 10 reps of eccentric hamstring curls on a medicine ball will rebuild weakened muscle tissue. One of the best exercises is the Nordic Hamstring Curl. Watch this quick video to see if you’re ready to perform these and if you’ll benefit from them:
Light stretching of the hamstring (with warmed up muscles) will encourage flexibility and improve range of motion. Avoid deep stretching or quick stretching movements such as leg swings.
Massaging the injury will break up tight muscle tissue and increase blood flow to quicken healing.
To massage the injury, sit on a chair with a tennis ball placed under your hamstring and roll around in small circles while breathing deeply. If you cannot roll out the trigger point with the self-massage method, contact a physical therapist who performs manual treatment such as Active Release Technique or Myofascial Release.
After the 72-hour rest period, it is good to perform aerobic activities in phase 2 that won’t burden the hamstrings. Aerobic activities that don’t place too much stress on the hamstring include swimming, cycling on a stationary bike, and working out on an elliptical.
Staying active with aerobic activities and moving every thirty minutes will decrease muscle tension. Always start light and increase the duration and/or intensity of aerobic activities gradually.
Consider visiting a sports physical therapist to guide you through phase 2 of the treatment plan. Sports physical therapists can prescribe the best exercises and treatments for hamstring strains.
Many sports physical therapists also speed up healing by providing massage and manual therapy, which do a better job of targeting the trigger point than any self-massage techniques.
Want to Get Back in the Game, ASAP? We Can Help!
Home treatment for hamstring strains is tricky. It is tough to determine why you suffered the strain to begin with, which exercises will help you the most, and how to resume sport without risking reinjury.
Luckily, our team of Sports Injury Specialists in Fort Myers, FL will make it easy for you.
We will identify what caused your injury and will provide you with proven treatment plans, including massage and manual therapy, to get you back in the game ASAP with strong and healthy hamstrings.
Call our office at 866-946-9539 and schedule your appointment today!
We offer Physical Therapy in Fort Myers Florida, and Physical Therapy in Cape Coral, FL.