Torn Hamstring & Hamstring Strain Exercises
When you are suffering from a hamstring tear or strain, your Doctor will usually recommend conservative (non-surgical) treatment options first to encourage natural healing of your injury. Some of the non-surgical treatments recommended will include exercise to deal with any weakness or stiffness in your leg, hip and knee. Exercise is also a good way to deal with scar tissue and maintain healthy blood flow in the injury location.
You will find hamstring exercises helpful for your recovery if:
- You regularly play sports involving the use of your legs (football, soccer, swimming, tennis, baseball, golf, etc).
- You wish to safely use the full range of your leg for stair climbing, walking, gardening or want to stay active with your family.
- You have a job that requires regular use of your legs, like construction, cleaning, assembly-line work, etc.
- It is important for you to recover from this hamstring injury quickly and completely, minimizing the chance of re-injury or chronic conditions (like arthritis or osteoarthritis).
- You already suffer from degenerative conditions (arthritis, osteoarthritis) and wish to maintain healthy movement in your leg while slowing down the degenerative process.
Regular stretching combined with conservative treatment protocols are usually designed to achieve the following goals:
- build muscle strength in your hip, thigh, quadriceps, hamstring, calf and shins
- increase mobility and range of motion (ROM)
- speed overall healing
- prevent muscle loss (atrophy)
- improve muscular function and capability
- refine muscle fiber tissue alignment and physical balance
- encourage overall muscle deep tissue flexibility
- provide a proper warm up for regular exercise
- promote healthy circulation in your hamstring
We have Advanced Treatment Tools to Help You Warm Up Your Hamstring Before Exercise and Enhance the Benefits of Your Stretching Routines
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Exercise not only helps you to treat your injury conservatively (without surgery), but it also plays an important role in surgical treatment of the hamstring. Surgeons will sometimes recommend a pre-surgery plan that includes specific exercises to prepare your leg for the surgical procedure. After surgery, exercise is recommended again as part of your rehabilitation for the hamstring surgery recovery process. At that stage you may work with a PT to learn proper exercising techniques.
Exercising focuses on enhancing the flexibility of the muscles, tendons and ligaments in your upper leg, hip and knee, while also strengthening surrounding soft tissue. In the body, all things are connected. So when you are trying to heal a hamstring injury you will need your surrounding (non-injured) muscles, tendons and ligaments to be strong and healthy too. This is because the surrounding soft tissue will help to distribute the weight of carrying or reaching while you recover from your injury.
The most amazing thing about torn hamstring exercising is that any stretching that you do can be greatly enhanced by also using your body's natural way of healing.
Your body uses your blood supply to heal. Even if you don't receive enough blood flow to the location of your hamstring tear, you can still treat yourself in a way that gives your natural blood flow the boost it needs to reach further into your torn soft tissue.
Working with your blood flow is an easy process that can be made even easier with the treatment tools available from AidYourHamstring.
- BEFORE STRETCHING - Warm Up Your Hamstring with a T•Shellz Wrap® Just Before Your Start A Stretch Routine
Before you start stretching your weak, tight, stiff muscles, increase the elasticity of the soft tissue in your leg by undergoing a T•Shellz Wrap® treatment. This is a warming application that substantially increases the flow of blood to your injured leg and reduces the risk of re-straining damaged tissue by gently warming the affected muscles, tendons and ligaments. Increased blood flow means more oxygen, nutrients and water (basically energy) are delivered to the targeted area which means faster, more complete healing of your damaged tissue. The only way to get Circulatory Boost while treating yourself at home is through use of a Leg T•Shellz Wrap®.
Our Leg T•Shellz Wrap® = The Perfect Circulatory Boost Delivery Tool
- AFTER STRETCHING - Use a Cold Compress or Ice Pack for Your Post-Stretch Cool Down
Right after you are done exercising you need to reduce pain and swelling to prevent re-injury of your hamstring. This can be done using a Cold Compress or Ice Pack. Use cold after stretching will numb your pain in a comforting way, get rid of your swelling and put a stop to continued tissue damage in your hamstring. This treatment will reduce the amount of fluid leaking from the injury, decrease pressure placed on blood vessels in the area, and open the pathways necessary to deliver blood flow right into your damaged soft tissue.
What You Need to Enhance
- A TShellz Wrap to reduce risk of re-injury or further straining during stretching/exercise.
- A Cold Compress or Ice Pack to reduce inflammation in your upped leg (use as soon as possible after stretching/exercise).
How Successful Are Your Hamstring Tear/Strain Exercises?
Stretching is an important part of any injury recovery process. Stretching has been known to aid in the increase of healthy blood flow circulation, flexibility, and range of motion - all of which help to decrease your pain and speed up in the natural healing process of your soft tissue.
When you stretch and hold a stretch, the action of stretching lengthens your muscles, tendons and ligaments. Movement of any kind is an essential part of recovery from a hamstring tear, rehabilitation after hamstring surgery, or managing on-going pain from injury, re-injury or degenerative conditions (like arthritis and osteoarthritis).
There are a lot of misconceptions about stretching - like how to stretch, when to stretch and how long to hold the stretch. In some ways, your stretching can be completely ineffective if you aren't following some very basic guidelines during your stretch. Improper stretching can also lead to more pain, re-injury or even more tearing in your hamstring. Stretching is such a vital part to recovery, but the idea that "any stretching is good stretching" is completely wrong. If you aren't going to take the time to stretch properly, speak to your doctor, meet with a PT, learn what stretches will help your condition and the techniques to properly stretch, then you aren't involved enough in your own injury recovery process.
Here are the questions you need to ask yourself in order to determine if your stretching will actually help in your hamstring strain recovery process:
- Are you stretching your hamstrings when they are "cold"?
- Is your stretch consistent and stable?
- Are you holding the stretch long enough?
- Are you experiencing any pain?
- Are you "cooling down" properly after stretching?
Learning these details will help you in making sure that your exercises will have a long-lasting positive impact on your recovery process.
"Cold" Stretching is Bad
One of the most common mistakes people make when stretching is thinking that you're supposed to stretch before initiating activity. If you're not an athlete, then you might not know about "cold" stretching and may be doing this every time before your workouts.
"Cold" stretching is basically doing static (non-moving) stretches before getting active. it is thought that stretching before activity will loosen up your muscles, warm up your tissue and get your circulation moving. Everything you may have thought about this is wrong. Stretching right away without a proper warm up can actually decrease your strength, power and performance. (reference: 1)
Static stretching can be harmful to your body if you aren't warming up properly first. Doing static stretching on "cold" soft tissue (that has not had a chance to warm up) will be forcing your tissue to lengthen and extend and will only tighten up your injury tissue further. Some studies have found that static stretching without a proper warm up will actually decrease muscle strength by 30%. Your tissue may even stay in a weakened state for 30 minutes after your stretching. Now it's obvious to see why for these reasons you should be properly warming up your leg before stretching - the best way we know to do this is to apply a T•Shellz Wrap® treatment. Heat emitted from the TShellz Wrap will help the connective tissue in the area elongate, and stay elongated for some time after treatment. It will also temporarily increase the flexibility of soft tissue, meaning that it helps improve range of motion while simultaneously reducing your risk of re-injury - which is exactly what you want when you are about to begin a stretching routine. (reference: 1).
Bouncing in a Static Stretch is Bad
Moving or bouncing your leg while stretching in a static (unmoving) pose can actually do you more harm than good. Bouncing into stretches can cause tearing in your upper leg or knee (muscles, tendons, ligaments) that will lead to the growth of more scar tissue in your leg and knee. This scar tissue will further tighten the area making any movement or activity even harder.
It's important that you keep a still position when stretching a hamstring injury to make sure that the stretch is benefiting your injury instead of making it worse.
Not Holding a Stretch Long Enough & Holding a Stretch too Long is Bad
Holding your stretch for 30 to 60 seconds is important to actually gain benefit from the stretch being performed. Stretching for less than 30 seconds will not provide a difference in flexibility or lengthening the hamstring and other relevant muscles and/or tendons. Stretching for more than 60 seconds can tighten and stiffen your hamstring because you're leaving your tissue in a fully contracted or extended position which will result in temporary lack of circulation.
Pain While Stretching is Bad
Extending your knee too far in a hamstring stretch can also be harmful to your recovery process. If you feel pain at all when stretching you are most likely going too deep into the stretch and attempting to extend your injured muscles and tendons too far. In some cases, your leg might start to fight against your stretch, which is a natural muscle response. Muscles have memory and they know the range of motion that's safe for your to go into and hold a stretch. If you try to stretch beyond that natural range of motion your muscles will try to stop the stretch and push back against your efforts.
Not "Cooling Down" After Stretching is Bad
After stretching your soft tissue you need to increase blood flow circulation and treat any new micro-tearing in your hamstring muscles and tendons. This is when a proper "cool down" is essential to make sure that your recently stretched soft tissue is receiving enough oxygen so it can recover from the exertion. This can be done by applying a Cold Compress or Ice Pack to your hamstring after stretching. Cold applied at this time will also nip any swelling or inflammation in the bud so you won't feel the pain and swelling that usually comes with new tissue damage.
Are Hamstring Stretches Enough to Fully Recover from Injury?
Stretching can only do so much to help you recover from your hamstring tear. If you're attending physio appointments then you'll soon see that PT only gives you a small amount of time (a few weeks) to recover from your injury. Even if you have surgery, you'll only get a few weeks of PT for post-op rehabilitation. It's important that you understand that a short time at PT with on-going stretches under the guidance of a medical professional can be helpful, but it's merely the beginning of your journey.
Stretching is important, but what should you be doing to make sure that your stretching is having a lasting impact on the recovery of your hamstring rehabilitation?
For most people suffering from a torn hamstring, exercise is only the beginning. In order to fully recover, you need to augment your recovery with conservative treatment methods done at home on a daily basis. Continuous movement and stretching is the only way to regain range of motion in your hip, leg and knee. This will help combat against atrophy (wasting away) of connective tissue in your upper leg (which would inhibit range of motion of the hip, knee and lower leg. What truly makes a difference to your overall hamstring injury recovery is your commitment to a long term recovery plan that includes regular stretching combined with the use of conservative treatment tools at home.
Ask any doctor or PT and they'll tell you that the success of your hamstring tear recovery and/or surgery depends on your level of dedication to regular at home care of your leg injury.
The best way to add to your exercising at home (and any stretching under the guidance of a medical professional) is use of conservative treatment tools that will help you to "warm up" and "cool down" your connective tissue. This requires an increase in blood flow before stretching and a decrease in any pain and swelling after stretching.
The only way to increase blood flow on your own is through cardio, aerobic activity, or continuous movement. This might sound easy to do before your injury, but can be difficult to achieve when you are suffering from a debilitating soft tissue injury. So what do you do when you need to warm up your tissue before exercise but you can't move your injury?
This is where use of conservative treatment tools, like a Leg TShellz Wrap, can boost your blood flow without having to move your already injured hamstring. After stretching, use a Cold Compress or Ice Pack during your "cool down" TO naturally relieve pain and swelling caused by stretching (especially if you have over-stretched or deepened the stretch too much).
Using these therapies (on a regular basis, as suggested in the product instructions and under the guidance of your doctor) will boost the effectiveness of your stretching (providing long-lasting benefits), and lessen the chance and/or severity of joint degeneration, muscular atrophy, re-injury or other leg pain during your recovery process.
Your 3-Step Hamstring Stretching Process
Part of recovery is building a plan for successful healing that includes 3 essential elements: a warm-up, stretching and a cool down. This 3-step approach is also used in every PT setting. It's a process that provides the best results and impact of your stretching.
Step 1 - Warm Up Your Hamstring
For this 1st step many PTs will use heat, manual manipulation, deep tissue massage, clinical ultrasound devices or a warm bath to warm up your hamstring and the hip and knee. The goal during this first step is to increase healthy blood flow circulation and relax your soft tissue. Warming up your upper leg will increase the elastic nature of your tendons, ligaments, and muscles, making it much easier to stretch, and when needed, hold the stretch. This will also extend the amount that you will be able to stretch your hamstring muscles.
Use a Leg TShellz Wrap for 15 to 20 minutes at least half an hour before your leg stretches and exercises. A TShellz Wrap will promote blood flow to your torn hamstring while warming up and relaxing your injured tissue. As your soft tissue becomes more elastic and pliable, you should experience more ease of movement when you're stretching without an increased risk of further strain or tearing.
Continued treatment with a T•Shellz Wrap® - a local circulatory enhancer - will aid in the delivery much-needed oxygen, nutrients and water (basically energy) to soft tissue, boosting your body's natural ability to heal. Decreased incidents of re-injury (due to enhanced tissue elongation and flexibility), combined with a boost in blood flow over time will translate to an optimized, shorter recovery period.
Step 2 - Exercise Your Hamstring
Stretching your hamstring is meant to increase range of motion and strengthen all of the supporting tissue in your leg, hip and knee. When stretching your hamstring it's important to also develop the surrounding muscles in your legs as they will be taking on some of the work that your hamstring can't handle. Strengthening your entire leg will also give you a better chance of slowly improving the mobility of your hamstring. Your leg will only be as healthy and pain free as you make it with doing your daily stretching exercises. Gaining back your mobility is critical to developing a healthy joint.
Step 3 - Cool Down Your Hamstring
Toward the end of your appointment your PT may introduce cold compression, acupuncture, or TENS to relax your hamstring after the intense stretching and exercise. Use a Cold Compress or Ice Pack after stretching, or whenever you feel sharp pain as it will relieve any on-going pain and swelling while preventing full-blown inflammation from returning after your stretching.
Start with a 20 minute treatment directly after stretching and apply more cold compression whenever you need to relieve pain and inflammation in your upper leg.
Are You Ready to Start Exercising?
If you suspect you may have a hamstring strain, hamstring spasm or other soft tissue injury,
- The first thing to do is speak with your doctor. Only your doctor can give you a proper diagnosis and from this, determine a course of proper treatment. Unless you need surgery to fix your torn hamstring, your doctor will almost always recommend conservative treatment options - conservative treatment options for a hamstring tear typically means rest, ice the injury, elevate the injury and take anti-inflammatory medication.
- Second, if your doctor has decided that your injury can be treated with conservative treatment options, then you'll find that many of our customers have had great success treating themselves with our Leg T•Shellz Wrap® and accessory products.
- If you have a soft tissue injury and need surgery, then you will find the T•Shellz blood circulation boost to be a powerful tool after surgery to help surgically repaired tissues recover for long-term health. (once the surgery wound has healed and your physician has given the ok - 6 weeks after surgery minimum)
... and Re-injury to your hamstring must be avoided at all costs!
Avoid Hamstring Re-Injury
Constant re-injury (you know when it's happening, you can feel the pain) needs to be avoided at all costs. Obviously, it delays the healing process, but what's worse is that every re-injury and additional healing cycle increases the amount of scar tissue that builds up in and around your hamstring muscle/tendon injury.
Scar tissue is hard, inflexible, and tough to get rid of. The more severe your hamstring injury is, the more likely that this scar tissue will fill into the tears in your hamstring, also attaching to all of the surrounding healthy tissue. This added scar tissue will restrict your ability to control the movement of your leg and knee. Scar tissue also makes your hamstring much more prone to injury again later on. The more scar tissue that develops, the more you lose the range of motion in your entire leg.
Continuous re-injury and build-up of scar tissue while staying active means you'll have a greater chance of winding up with on-going pain, more tearing in your hamstring and tearing or weakening (atrophy) of surrounding tissue (ligaments, tendons, muscle).
If you have pain and inflammation in your leg, it's very important to heal your injury quickly and completely. You must avoid the build up of scar tissue. If you don't, your hamstring injury may plague you forever. This is why it's so important to continuously use conservative treatment tools to heal any recurring hamstring damage before it can build into something big. For any hamstring tear sufferer, having the right tools means all the difference.
'Over Compensation Pain' Needs to be Treated
Everything in the human body is connected. Any hamstring injury can lead to other injuries over time if not treated properly. You might start lifting with and using your opposite leg when performing normal daily activities, like brushing your teeth, brushing your hair, carrying or reaching for things. You may also try to rely on your opposite (healthy / stronger) leg and knee to get yourself back to work, activities or your sports sooner to avoid waiting for your hamstring injury to heal completely.
Many of our clients have experienced pain in the knee and hip of the affected leg and their opposite knee as well because they change their gait (the way they walk) and use the opposite leg more to take pressure of the injured leg. For example, you might normally lean and put most of your body weight on your good leg and only shuffle your bad leg when you walk... or you never use your bad leg to lead when climbing stairs anymore (by the way, this can very quickly cause significant knee strain in the non-dominant leg). Even though changing something like this seems like a really small thing, changing the way you would normally walk (or get up from a chair, or climb stairs, etc) when your body isn't used to doing it that way, that can result in pain and injuries in your healthy (and usually non-dominant) leg.
Over time you'll notice that you automatically start to put more weight on your non-injured side to cope with everyday activities. When you experience pain on the opposite side of your body, this is something called "over compensation" pain. Usually the hamstring will get torn in your dominant leg (if you are right handed, this would be your right leg). When this happens there is a higher risk that you'll over-strain your weaker leg that's compensating for your injury, because it's just not as strong as your dominant side.
The Leg T•Shellz Wrap® is the best treatment available to deal with over compensation issues and injury prevention by maintaining healthy blood flow in the Leg or Arm. It works on both! Leg Support Wrap: When the treatment is over, you can unplug the device and keep the wrap attached to provide support to the injured leg.
Even if you try to avoid over compensation pain in your healthy leg you're still at risk for re-injuring your damaged hamstring. Ignoring over compensation pain and the pain felt from your hamstring injury while returning to regular activities or your job can lead to even more problems with healing.
To Start Recovery, Healing Time must be Minimized with Effective Treatment Options
If you have a torn hamstring, it's very important to heal it quickly and completely. Minimizing the healing time should be an obvious goal, as a chronic hamstring tear will limit your ability to go about your daily routine for a long period of time.
A seemingly small, nagging injury in your leg that's not properly treated can lead to a chronic painful degenerative hamstring injury that can persist for months or even years if not properly treated.
When There is Pain and Swelling - Reduce It With a Cold Compress or Ice Pack
For conservative treatment of pain and swelling in the hamstring - even after surgery - use cold to get the swelling down to "open up" the area for more blood flow. Anyone in the health-care business knows that your blood supplies the oxygen and much needed nutrients required for your body to heal naturally after surgery. This is why doctors and surgeons recommend the use of a Cold Compress or Ice Pack within the first 72 hours of an injury and following hamstring surgery.
cold compression is known and trusted by most medical professionals. This is why for years doctors, trainers and other medical professionals have recommended RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) to treat the pain and swelling of fresh injuries, chronic pain, after any re-injury, and especially after surgery.
Use a Cold Compress or Ice Pack:
- 24 to 72 hours after your initial injury or when you first notice pain and swelling in your leg to stop tissue damage, relieve pain, and decrease swelling.
- After exercise, workouts or activity of any kind to prevent re-injury.
- Before and after surgery during rehabilitation to control pre and post-surgery pain and swelling.
- Anytime your leg feels tender, painful or you're having a flare-up of an old hamstring, quadriceps or calf muscle injury.
- Anytime you have swelling, sharp throbbing pain or inflammation.
- Any other situation where you need to draw the pain and inflammation out of your leg.
Absence of Pain Does Not Mean Your Injury is Gone
There are a lot of people that think their hamstring tear is gone after their swelling and inflammation are gone and their leg feels better. They also make the mistake of returning to regular activities too soon without proper time for healing. The truth is that healing takes time and after the swelling is gone your hamstring injury isn't even close to being fully healed.
After the inflammation in your leg has been reduced, providing extra blood flow and strengthening the tissue in your hamstring is recommended. Believe it or not, the best time for you to focus on avoiding re-injury and strengthening the weakened tissue in your leg is when the swelling's gone and your hamstring has started to heal. It's vital that you don't go back to activities too soon because you might bring on a major setback in your recovery...
After treating your soft tissue injury with TShellz Wraps, you will arrive at a point where there is no longer any pain and you find that you can get around much more easily without pain. This often happens after a couple days of treatments and some rest on the sofa. Be careful! This is often where trouble can start.
Since the pain is gone, you can mistakenly start thinking your injury is healed. Not knowing this, we start become active like we used to again and in so doing, interrupt the healing process and start to stress the partially injured leg, often re-injuring it again. We continually re-injure the hamstring injury through our daily activities and now this injury has become a chronic hamstring injury.
Eventually, we use the other leg more and more and wind up over-stressing our knees for a lengthy period of time. This is why the hips and opposite knee start to hurt, and then really hurt - they are being overused now. Soon, aches and pain (and often sciatica) can become commonplace in the lower body - all as a result of the original leg injury and the body's instinctive nature to "protect" the original hamstring injury.
With a chronic soft tissue injury, odds of surgery increase as do the odds of more soft tissue injuries due to overcompensation. What I'm saying is this: once you start feeling better and the pain has disappeared, your injury is still there. Depending on the type of injury and/or condition, it may take another 4 months to heal. Keep treating the area with
TShellz Wraps at least twice per day as your continue on your recovery path.
TShellz Wrap Before Activity
When applied before activity or work, the
TShellz Wrap will help relax and lengthen your soft tissue in the treatment area, helping improve range of motion during your activity (and correspondingly, reducing injury risk). This will go a long way in your fight against atrophy as good, strain free stretching is very very helpful. Continued treatment with a
TShellz Wrap will maintain good health in the soft tissue and significantly reduce your risk of re-injury.
With regular use of the
- Your pain will be reduced.
- Due to increased blood flow, soft tissue in the area will recover at an accelerated rate.
- Due to increased warmth in soft tissue, the corresponding joint will have a larger range of motion and increased extensibility of collagen tissue. This should translate into a reduced rate of re-injury occurrence as soft tissue becomes more flexible.
(Chapter 9 of "Therapeutic Heat and Cold", 4th edition.
(amazon.com link - Ed. Justus F. Lehmann, M.D., Williams, and Wilkin)
Attach the T•Shellz Wrap®, plug it in and let the Energy Pad do the work!
Use A Leg TShellz Wrap:
- After swelling and inflammation have been reduced with cold compression.
- Before exercise or workouts to warm up your upper leg and knee to prevent re-injury.
- Before and after hamstring tear surgery, during rehabilitation, to warm up your legs before PT exercising or stretching.
- Anytime you feel your leg or knee has stiffened up, is tight and your mobility is reduced causing you more pain.
- Anytime you have sore or aching tissue in and around your hamstring.
- Any other situation where you need to increase blood flow to your upper leg to relax your soft tissue, relieve pain, prevent re-injury and enhance flexibility of your tissue.
During your recovery, you may have to modify and/or eliminate any activities that cause pain or discomfort in your leg until your pain and inflammation settle, and you gain more mobility and strength in your lower body. The more diligent you are with your treatment and rehabilitation, the faster you will see successful results!
Prevention and Promotion of Lifelong Health
If you want to help minimize your risk of re-injury, manage pain and increase circulation for lifelong health benefits, a Leg TShellz Wrap is intended to provide the results you are looking for.
Why spend time in pain, off from work, and missing out on your active lifestyle when you can be proactive about your injury and the health of your body? Talk to your doctor about incorporating a regular routine of using a T•Shellz Wrap®.
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During your recovery, you will probably have to modify and/or eliminate any activities that cause pain or discomfort at the location of your soft tissue injury until the pain and inflammation settle. Always consult your doctor and/or Physical Therapist before using any of our outstanding products, to make sure they are right for you and your condition. The more diligent you are with your treatment and rehabilitation, the faster you will see successful results!
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