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Physical Therapy for Hamstring Injuries

Hamstring injuries can happen to anyone. It can be a simple pulled muscle without tearing, a partial tear or severe wherein there is total rupture of the muscle. Hamstring injuries are common among active people engaged in sports such as running or sprinting, basketball, soccer and football.

Your hamstring muscles, or simply called hamstrings, are a group of muscles at the back of your thigh. They help bend your knee and extend your hip.

General Physical Therapy Treatment Options for Hamstring Injuries

There are several physical therapy treatment options for hamstring injuries, depending on the severity and type of your injury.

Your physical therapist will conduct a thorough history taking, physical examination and evaluation and create a comprehensive treatment plan for your specific problems, needs and goals. The initial goal of treatment for hamstring injury is to reduce pain and swelling in your injured area. This can be done by following the RICE regimen for minor injuries. RICE stands for rest, ice, compression and elevation.

As a part of your home treatment plan, your physical therapist may advise you to continue doing RICE therapy when you get home for a couple of days.

Your doctor or physical therapist may recommend that you wear a knee splint for some time to help avoid additional stress to your injured hamstring and hasten healing.

Rehabilitation for Hamstring Injuries

The primary goal of rehabilitation is to return you to your previous activity as soon and as safely possible.

When your pain has decreased and swelling has subsided, physical therapy rehabilitation can start, which may include the following:
    Ice pack or heat pack application
  • Use of therapeutic ultrasound to reduce stiffness and increase blood flow to your site of injury.

  • Range of motion and stretching exercises to increase your flexibility.

  • Strengthening exercises to increase hamstring muscle strength to help return you to your full capacity.

  • Patient education with special emphasis on injury prevention.

Your physical therapist may also provide you with other treatment options not discussed here. Also, your therapist may advise you to follow a home exercise program to aid you in faster healing.

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