Hamstring strain or injury causes pain and nuisance, especially to those who have active lifestyles. In the case of mild injury, simple exercises may help in the recovery process. Read on to know the simple hamstring injury exercises you can do at home.
In this article:
What Causes Hamstring Injury?
A hamstring injury, also known as pulled hamstring or hamstring tear, is a strain to the tendons or the group of muscles located at the back of the thigh. It occurs when the muscles are contracted and lengthened or overworked and stretched too far. This is common with athletes playing sports such as basketball, soccer, and track and field. In some instances, hamstring injury may be caused by a lack of stretching exercises and weak muscles.
Hamstring injury is classified into three grades: grade 1 (mild strain), grade 2 (partial muscle tear), and grade 3 (complete muscle tear). Mild muscle strain often can be cured by over the counter medicines, rest-ice-compression-elevation (RICE), and hamstring injury exercises. The recovery time depends on the severity of the injury. Mild strains may take a few days to heal, while severe hamstring injuries may take months, although it rarely requires surgery.
Simple hamstring Injury Exercises You can do at Home
Listed below are the step by step hamstring injury exercises that are simple and do not require complicated equipment. Please note that you might feel mild discomfort while doing these exercises; however, if you feel severe pain discontinue the exercise.
- For the starting position, lie on your stomach with a pillow underneath with your knees straight. Place a rolled-up cloth above your knee cap if you feel discomfort.
- Bend the knees of the affected leg and lift the foot to the buttock. Try not to bend your knees too much if you feel pain.
- Slowly move your leg up and down repeatedly for eight to 12 times.
Hamstring Set Heel Dig
- Sit on the floor with your affected leg bent and the good leg on the floor.
- Press your heel into the ground to tighten the muscles (hamstring) at the back of your upper leg.
- Hold this position for six seconds then rest for 10 seconds.
- Repeat this for eight to 12 times.
Hamstring Wall Stretch
- Find a doorway and lie on your back on the floor. Your good leg must be through the open door.
- Slide your affected leg slowly up the wall as you straighten your knee. You will feel a gentle stretch at the back of your leg as you perform this.
- Hold it there for at least a minute. Gradually increase the time as you repeat this exercise for two to four minutes.
- Stand facing the wall and place your hand on the wall surface at the chest level. Keep both legs straight in a standing position.
- Gently lift your affected leg to your back while using your good leg to support your weight.
- Lower your affected leg slowly back to the starting position.
- Repeat this for eight to 12 times.
Standing Hamstring Stretch
- Prepare a stool or any surface about 15 inches high. Place the heel of your injured leg on it and keep your leg straight with your good leg as support.
- Bend your hips as you lean forward. You will feel a mild stretch at the back of your thigh.
- Hold this position for 15-30 seconds and repeat three times.
- Sit in a chair in a slouched position and head bent down.
- Your good leg must be touching the floor as you lift your injured leg toward you.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds and repeat it two times.
Take Away: How to Avoid Hamstring Injury in the Future
While hamstring injury may reoccur, especially in athletes, the risk of having it can be reduced by doing warm-up exercises, stretching, and training the leg muscles, particularly the glute and thigh area. Before going back to vigorous physical activities, make sure that the hamstring muscles are recovered and strong enough to resume full activity. You may do this by following the simple home exercises listed above and gradually increasing your activities’ intensity.
Have you ever experienced hamstring injury? Which exercise do you find most effective? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section!