Hamstring injuries are one of the most common sports injuries.
They are painful and can even make it impossible to stand up or be able to walk properly. Most can be healed on their own without surgery, but they do need to be treated quickly and properly.
If you have ever experienced a hamstring strain, you will know how sudden and painful it can be. Some may even feel like a popping sensation within the leg when they occur.
Read this guide to understand the most important steps you must take to treat your hamstring strain right away before it can get any worse.
1. Compression and Elevation
Immediately after the injury, you should elevate the leg and take off all the pressure. Use an elastic compression bandage to bind the muscle. Keep the leg elevated whenever you are sitting or lying down to help the blood flow.
2. Ice The Leg
Apply an ice pack to the injury to help reduce the swelling at the site. This should help with the pain as the swelling decreases. Keep applying ice every three hours over the next couple of days.
You should not apply ice to the leg for longer than 30 minutes to avoid doing any cold damage to the skin.
3. Take Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
If you want to treat your hamstring injury at home and are unsure what drugs you can take for the pain, stick to over-the-counter non-steroid anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs).
These are ibuprofen like Advil or naproxen like Naprosyn. They will help with the pain and the inflammation and reduce the overall swelling.
Ensure you read the medical information on the drug packet, especially if you suffer from stomach ulcers. NSAIDs should not be used long term, so speak with your doctor about longer-term drug treatments.
4. Rest The Leg
Severe hamstring injuries can take up to 12 months to heal fully. Many people find it difficult to rest a leg for this amount of time, risking additional damage by returning to sports too early.
If you are given crutches to get about, use them. You need to give your leg the time off if it needs to heal itself. Every time you apply pressure to the leg by walking, you are risking another tear or strain.
5. Seek Medical Advice
If the pain and swelling have not reduced after 24hrs or you are unable to put any weight on the leg, you may have a severe tear in the muscle. In such cases, you will require surgery.
Speak to a medical specialist who is highly experienced in treating a sports injury, and they will advise you on whether you need surgical intervention.
Treat Your Hamstring Strain Correctly
Hamstring strains are painful and unpleasant, but you can greatly reduce the suffering if you treat them correctly and in a timely fashion. Ensure you get enough rest to allow the hamstring to heal, and begin a gentle stretching program once you are on the road to recovery.
Don’t forget to try and avoid injuries altogether by making sure you do hamstring stretches before playing sports!
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