How to Recover From a Hamstring Strain

The hamstring plays a pivotal role in walking, jumping, running, cycling or swimming. The hamstrings are the powerhouse of your legs. Hamstrings allow you to bend your knees, straighten your leg and control movement from the hip. A hamstring injury can cause a big disruption in your fitness or training regimen, leaving you on the couch for weeks if not treated right.

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What is a Hamstring Strain?

  • A hamstring strain is an excessive stretch or tear to the muscle fibers.

More: The Whole Story on Hamstrings

What Are the Symptoms?

  • Sharp pain in the back of the leg during exercise
  • Swelling or bruising
  • Pain when stretching or contracting the muscle

Severity of a Hamstring Pull

Grade 1

  • Discomfort when walking
  • Tightness in posterior thigh
  • Little swelling
  • Slight pain when bending the knee against resistance

Grade 2

  • Difficulty when walking—slight limp
  • Pain during activity
  • Noticeable swelling or bruising
  • Pain when bending the knee against resistance—very difficult
  • Unable to straighten the knee

Grade 3

  • Severe pain
  • Major swelling or bruising
  • Difficulty walking—may need crutches
  • Can't bend or straighten the knee
Note: If you have grade three hamstring strain, seek medical attention immediately.

More: The Art of Stretching

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