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Hamstring Strain and Other Injuries Treated with Physical Therapy

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Hamstring strain and other injuries happen when at least one of the three hamstring tendons or muscles suffers a tear. Hamstring injuries are among the most common lower body injuries that people experience. It’s particularly common amongst athletes who play soccer, football, or run track. Unfortunately, once this area has been injured, you are far more likely to experience the injury again.

The majority of hamstring strain and other injuries are easily managed using physical therapy. The physical therapists at A Family Chiropractic Clinic are highly experienced in treating a wide variety of injuries, including hamstring strain and tears.

Hamstring Strain and Injuries

Hamstrings are the main muscle group that controlls bending your knee as well as straightening your hip. It’s a group of three muscles on the back of the thigh. They connect your pelvis to your leg. These three muscles are called the semimembranosus, semitendinosus, and biceps femoris. When this muscle group experiences excessive force you may experience an injury. This mostly happens when you suddenly start or stop when running or quickly change direction. This occurs frequently when sprinting, kicking, hurdling, and heavy lifting. In addition, you may have a higher risk of sustaining a hamstring strain or injury if you have a history of hamstring injuries, hamstring weakness, muscle tightness, muscle fatigue, or if you fail to warm up properly before activity.

The symptoms of a hamstring injury vary depending on how severe the injury is. A mild strain to your hamstring may feel similar to a pulled muscle or a cramp. Many people who suffer from mild hamstring injuries don’t realize they injured themselves until after they’ve stopped the activity or even the next day. More severe injuries often include a sharp, sudden pain on the back of the thigh or in the buttocks. You may experience a pop or tearing feeling. It’s also common to have bruising, swelling, and tenderness. Depending on the degree of your injury you may not be able to sit or walk comfortably.

Diagnosing Hamstring Strain and Other Injuries

A clinical evaluation helps your physical therapist diagnose your injury. They’ll check for discoloration and bruising and ask you to identify your pain level. In many cases they’ll ask which activities ease the pain and which worsen the pain. Using palpation they’ll pinpoint the exact area of the injury. Other evaluations for range of motion, muscle strength, and checking your gait will help them determine the severity of the injury.

Hamstring injuries fall into three categories depending on the degree of injury. A Grade 1 injury is a mild strain accompanied by minimal tearing. For most people, this feels like a pulled muscle or a cramp. A Grade 2 injury is considered a moderate strain accompanied with partial tearing. This often presents with a burning or stinging sensation. The Grade 3 level injuries are a complete, severe muscle tear. This often results in a knot on the back of your thigh where the muscle is visibly torn.

Physical Therapy for Hamstring Strain

A physical therapist is your best option for recovering quickly from this type of injury. Your treatment plan will be designed to care for your specific injury and help you meet your goals. A physical therapist can provide you guidance from the moment you receive the injury until you’re fully recovered.

In the first 48 hours, physical therapy will include resting the area, applying ice for about 15 minutes up to 4 times per day, and using a compression wraps to control swelling and pain. As the pain decreases your physical therapist will help you start with gentle exercises. At first, this will just involve stretching your hamstring muscles with flexibility exercises. As you progress, your physical therapist will help strengthen the muscle groups using precise exercises that will target specific areas of weakness. They will use hands-on therapy to move and manipulate your joints and muscles. This will gradually improve your flexibility, range of motion, and strength.

As your strength and flexibility return your physical therapist will help you with a personalized training program. This plan will help teach your body the correct way to move without putting excessive stress on the injured area. This phase is very important since it is quite easy to reinjure the area, even after it has been rehabilitated.

Preventing Hamstring Strain and Other Injuries

There are a number of things you can do to reduce your risk of experiencing a hamstring strain or other injury. The most important thing is to make sure you always warm up before all athletic activities. When exercising, use proper lifting and squatting techniques. This is especially important when moving large or heavy objects. When starting a new exercise or activity, start small and gradually increase intensity and frequency. This helps your body adapt to new movement patterns and minimizes your risk of injury.

It’s also very important that you listen to our body. Stretch, use ice, or rest as needed after a workout or other athletic event. Allow your muscles time to recover before you participate in the same activity or routine. If you have any questions, talk with your physical therapist. They’ll be more than happy to provide you with suggestions or recommendations to prevent reinjuring the area.

Let Our Physical Therapists Help You

Our physical therapists are educated and experienced when it comes to treating hamstring strain and other injuries. They have advanced experience, knowledge, and skills to properly treat your injury. Don’t be afraid to ask questions throughout the course of your recovery. It’s also important to always be honest about your symptoms and activities. Detailed information allows our staff to treat you more effectively.

You can rest easy knowing you’re in good hands with our qualified and professional physical therapists. Physical therapy helps reduce recovery time and minimizes the chance of sustaining the same injury. Don’t let suffer in pain on your own, let us help you get back on your feet.

Call A Family Chiropractic Clinic today at (940) 566-0000 to learn more about how physical therapy can help you recover from your hamstring strain.