The hamstring muscle is situated in the rear part of the thigh. This muscle straightens and rotates the leg as well as bending the knee. If the individual has a strained or pulled hamstring, it can lead to a certain degree of discomfort when the leg is being straightened and can make it painful to walk in severe cases.
The proper treatment of a torn hamstring is essential not only to prevent the injury from becoming severe but also to hasten the recovery period. The commonly used treatment involves prevention and the RICE method. If you want to learn more about the RICE method, click here.
How to manage a torn hamstring
You have to take into consideration the following measures in order to promote recovery of the injury.
- The hamstring should be protected from further injury. This should be the initial step in the treatment of a torn hamstring. Regardless of the activity that instigated the tear, they must be avoided until the hamstring is fully healed.
- The individual should rest the torn hamstring. Once pain occurs in the hamstring, any activity should be stopped. Rest is a vital component of the treatment process to promote the healing of the affected muscle as well as hasten the recovery process.
- As part of the treatment for a torn hamstring, you can apply an ice pack and provide compression to reduce the pain and swelling as well as promote blood flow to the muscle. The fundamental rule when ice is used is to apply for 20 minutes and removed for another 20 minutes during the initial 24 hours after the injury was sustained. The skin should be protected by covering the ice pack with a clean cloth or towel. For compression, you can wrap the leg with an elastic bandage. Just make sure that you will not wrap too tight since it can disrupt with the circulation. The cold compressions should be discontinued once the pain and swelling subsides.
- The torn hamstring should be raised to reduce the swelling and prevent the blood from accumulating. You can do this when ice and compression is applied but encouraged as often as possible. The ideal way to elevate is to simply prop the foot on a stool or on cushions when the individual is lying down. The elevation of the affected limb will also help decrease the excruciating sensation that occurs once the blood is driven to the damaged muscle.
Always bear in mind that if a torn hamstring is more than just minor due to the swelling or difficulty in placing weight on the leg, it is best to consult a doctor as soon as possible. Within 48-72 hours, if the injury is treated properly with the appropriate measures, the hamstring will eventually recover.