How to Treat a "Pesky" Hamstring Injury
Hamstring injuries are a pain in the rear - literally! An injury to the hamstring can linger for many months due to its heavy involvement with most motion of the lower body. Try these simple tips to help push that hamstring along to heal.
1. Foam Rolling: Foam rolling is a great way to massage and "release knots" in the muscle. To complete this exercise first sit on a foam roller. Straighten the leg with the issue and slower roll your leg up and down on the roller using your hands and other leg to guide you. Try to “sit” on the most tender spots for 10 seconds. Complete this for 5 minutes.
2. Hamstring Isometrics: Isometric exercises help to gently work the muscle. These exercise many occur without motion, and rather pure activation of the muscle, lessen the chance of irritation. To complete this exercise start by laying on your back with knees bent and toes up. Gently press the heel down into the floor activating the hamstring. Hold for 10 seconds and repeat 10 times. Keep the exercise pain free.
3. Bridges: This exercise activates the hamstring with the glutes to help strengthen the muscle. However, this exercise may not be appropriate when the hamstring is first injured. To complete this exercise lay on your back with knees bent. Squeeze the buttocks and lift the hips up. Hold for 2 seconds and lower back down. Repeat with the toes up only if pain free. Complete 10 reis and 2 sets.
4. Hip Abduction Lifts: This exercise helps to strengthen other muscles close to the hamstring that can assist in leg motions. To complete this exercise lay on the opposite side of injury. Straighten the top leg and slightly bring it back. Keeping the knee straight lift the top leg up and down. The exercise should be felt in the side of the leg and hip. Repeat 10 reps and 2 sets.
5. Corrective Shoe-wear: Wearing shoes can also greatly impact the hamstring's healing time. Make sure to avoid heeled shoes or super flat shoes. Instead choose a shoe with good arch support. This will ensure that the leg is kept in correct alignment while walking or running. This can also help take stress off the hamstring.
6, Correcting Your Stride : And lastly if you are feeling more pain with walking or running it may have something to do with your gait pattern. When walking focus on striking the heel. However in running the mid-foot should be hitting the ground first. Also, try not to “over stride” or reach the leg forward while running. This motion can stress in the hamstring and lead to over-stretching.
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