When it comes down to training muscles, it is actually fairly easy for someone to obtain an injury in a muscle or joint. One of the largest muscles that can be harmed while performing any exercise regarding weightlifting or simply running, is the hamstring.
Your hamstring is the muscle groups located on the posterior (backside) of your upper leg or thigh region. The hamstring is composed of three main muscles: the semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and the biceps femoris. Each of these three muscles creates what we refer to as our hamstring and each workout we perform, if performed incorrectly, can create an uncomfortable tension and lead to the possibility of tearing one of these muscles.
The hamstring is a very important muscle to avoid injury to as it is responsible the bending of the leg at the knee joint, while also helping with lowering and raising the leg when the knee is bent, which occurs in many simple movements such as walking and/or running.
Science Behind a Hamstring Pull
In most cases, if you have a pulled hamstring, 90% of the time you have caused harm or damage to the bicep femoris. Although this may seem like it can create a great deal of problems, it’s not as bad as it sounds. If you have pulled your hamstring or caused harm to it, most likely it is due to one of these three main issues as these make up almost all of known hamstring injuries related to weight lifting and sports training.
☑ You are training leg movements that engage the hamstring muscles without properly warming up and stretching the muscles beforehand. By not stretching and warming up, you can be creating a greater tension or strain on the hamstring which if followed by the use of exercising with too much weight, it can lead to an uncomfortable amount of pressure followed by an uneven stretch which can tear or pull part of the muscle.
☑ If you have weak glute muscles, it is also common to tear or pull the hamstring. This is due to the nature that your Glutes and Hamstring work hand in hand with one another. Almost any exercise or movement that engages the Hamstring will engage the Glutes and vice versa.
Side Effects of Pulled Hamstring
If you are worried if you have pulled your hamstring, some of the most common signs of injury would be a sharp and severe pain during an exercise or particular movement, such as leg curls and squats.
If you are simply walking or running and have a pain located in the backside of your leg or lower glutes region, it is also possible you might have a pulled hamstring. It’s also important to check for any major or possible bruising located on the site of the pain.
How To Fix a Pulled Hamstring
If you end up needing to treat a pulled hamstring, the very first thing I recommend is to avoid exercises incorporating hamstring activation and rest your leg. Avoid putting too much weight on it if the pain is too much. Icing or Heating your leg muscles is also important as it can help reduce swelling that may occur. Apply ice or heat to affected region for about 30 min a day before and/or after your workout to help reduce any possible swelling. Slowly perform controlled leg movements without the use of weights.
Instead, opt for trying elastic bands to help create a light and controlled tension if need be. Avoiding any weight is the best thing to do. It is also possible that in the event of any pulled muscle, that swelling or inflammation can occur. If this does happen, an anti-inflammatory drug, such as Advil, will also have the potential to reduce swelling as well as numb pain.
If you do end up needing pain relievers or anti-inflammatory, avoid taking too much and it is recommended to seek medical attention if the pain does not leave within a few days or becomes unbearable. It’s also a great idea and one of the best methods to fix and prevent a pulled hamstring by simply stretching the muscle on a daily basis.
Most people who exercise in the gym almost always forget about stretching and the wonders it can do as far as preventing injury. I recommend a light and easy stretch before and after any workout for the trained muscle group.
Keep stretching the hamstring and avoid too much pressure on it until you feel you are able to move your leg without such pain and the hamstring no longer feels like it is torn or pulled. You should no longer feel a pain in the hamstring or leg muscles when you walk or run. Once you have heeled fully you will be fine to go back to your normal routine of heavy lifting and exercising.
However, always remember that if a muscle is injured or damaged, constantly working it is not going to help it heal while it is in pain or torn. Taking a break from a particular workout to the damaged region is the best thing to do no matter how little the injury can be. What may seem like a small pain or injury can easily become something much worse if it’s not properly healed and is continued to be worked with an applied tension or opposing force.
If for any reason you feel a pain that is lasting weeks on end no matter what you try to do, stop trying to treat the injury yourself and seek medical attention at a local physical therapist.