Don’t let pulling a hammy land you on the sidelines

col-RichardOwensImagine you have just started your morning run, are playing a game of pick-up basketball at the local YMCA, or in a dead sprint to beat out the grounder to the short-stop, and BOOM! You have just pulled a hammy!  It hits you like a ton of bricks.  Even If you have not played sports, this may have happened to you.

You’ve experienced the instantaneous ripping of the muscle in the back of your leg.  You may have tried to stretch it out and carry on because your team needs you, but you soon realize that this injury can make even the simplest of tasks challenging and send you reeling in pain.

The hamstring muscles run down the back of the thigh and are made up of three muscles: Semitendinosus, Semimembranosus, and Biceps femoris. They start at the bottom of the pelvis at a place called the ischial tuberosity. They travel down the back of your leg, cross the knee joint and end at the lower leg. The hamstring muscle group helps you extend your leg straight back and bend your knee.

Most hamstring injuries occur in the thick, central part of the muscle or where the muscle fibers join tendon fibers. A hamstring strain can be a pull, a partial tear, or a complete tear and are graded as such.  Severity, graded from 1-3, determines how long the healing process will take. In the most cases, the injury will heal itself between a few days for the smaller strains, to a few months for more involved cases.  In cases, such as an avulsion, in which the tendon is completely torn from the bone, surgery may be needed.

Whether you are a weekend warrior, or an avid athlete, injuries are part of the game.  A little prevention goes a long way with injuries such as this.  And although you cannot completely rid yourself of the risk, you can follow a few simple rules to minimize the risk or lessen the damage with injuries.

Warm-up first. You need to get the soft tissue, the tendon, fascia and muscle itself more extensible.  This will also improve your muscle control prior to initiating an activity.

Stretch the muscles prior to starting.  This improves the flexibility of the muscle.  Generally, more dynamic stretching is indicated prior to activity and more sustained stretching following activity.

Know your limits and stay hydrated.  No matter how good you feel, you should understand what your body can do.  Going too far beyond that is a recipe for disaster.  Staying hydrated helps contracting muscles provides adequate nutrients and removes waste efficiently so you perform better. Water is also important for lubricating joints.   This also assist with fatigue and cramping of muscles.

When these issues pop up, we will be there to assist you to get back on your feet and back into the fold.  Statistically 8 out of 10 people throughout their lifetime will need some type of physical rehabilitation. So, if you find yourself in this position and must choose a Physical Therapist , visit our website at www.prsrehabservices.com.

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