How Long Does a Hamstring Injury Take to Heal?

By Patrick Foley

golf cart path next to green
Hamstrings are any of the three tendons which are contracted by the muscles in the back of the thigh. Hamstrings are necessary to do any activity that involves athletic movement, including running and walking. If throughout a swing you feel a pull or tear in the hamstring, an injury to the hamstring has occurred and you should stop immediately. It is crucial to understand how long it will take for the injury to heal.

Hamstrings Provide Stability

In golf, the hamstrings are utilized throughout the swing to keep the body stable as you turn through the stroke and power through the swing. When completing an athletic movement such as the golf swing there is always a chance you could pull or strain one of your hamstrings.

Healing Time

The healing time for a hamstring injury varies. Different degrees, called grades, of each injury will determine the actual healing time. It could take anywhere from a week to five weeks to heal.

Hamstring Injury Grade 1

A grade 1 hamstring strain will take about a week of recovery time. A grade 1 strain hurts minimally, there is no pain walking, and motion isn't hindered. But it is imperative that you not play golf or exercise your leg. Increased work and stress can be put on the leg after week one. If you jump into swinging or exercising immediately after the injury there is a good chance of increasing the severity of the injury.

Hamstring Injury Grade 2

A grade 2 hamstring strain will take two to three weeks of recovery for proper healing to occur. Do not allow yourself to put too much stress on the leg during this time because it will just increase the length of recovery time. With a grade 2 strain, you will have pain when walking, constricted range of motion, and tingling and pulling sensations in your leg. Avoid physical activity until these symptoms are gone.

Hamstring Injury Grade 3

A grade 3 hamstring strain will take three to five weeks for proper recovery. A person with a grade 3 strain may have trouble walking without assistance (i.e. without crutches). Also, there will heavy swelling in the area of the strain. Do not play golf or perform any activity during this recovery time. If you re-strain the muscle the recovery time will have to start all over again.

How to Recover from a Hamstring Injury

To have the minimum recovery time possible, seek physical therapy. Also, it is important to ice the muscle to reduce swelling and allow blood flow. Any rehab exercises will be beneficial to recovery as long as you don't put too much stress on the leg at first. The quicker you recover the faster you can be back on the golf course in top form.

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

  1. Use the hamstring as little as possible while it is recovering. This can be difficult, as the hamstring is a major muscle group required for most movements. Recovery doesn't necessarily mean bed rest, but be as gentle as possible, keeping the injury in mind.
  2. Apply a sports cream, such as Icy Hot or Bengay, not only to push fluids away to reduce swelling and inflammation but also to increase blood circulation to the injury. These products use both a hot and cold sensation on the skin and should be applied regularly with massaging motions. Keep in mind not to apply excessively. Follow instructions on the product.
  3. Use an ice pack on the hamstring to help recovery and soothe the pain. Ice packs should be placed on the injury for about 15 minutes every two hours. Avoid using heat as the muscle recovers, as heat will cause inflammation, swelling, and pain, and extend the recovery process.
  4. Stretch your legs throughout the day, making sure the stretches are smooth and non-aggressive. Simple leg extension stretch can help to keep your hamstring flexible, increase circulation and promote healing. Make sure that the stretch does not become painful, stopping at any point the movement becomes uncomfortable.
  5. Use massage on the hamstring to decrease stiffness and promote healing. Use gentle strokes, stopping at the point of pain or discomfort. Use long flowing strokes or small circular motions.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the hamstring injury and its pain become too much, consider using crutches if you must remain mobile for an extended period of time. No pain, no gain can only go so far.
  • Be sure not to be too strenuous on the muscle too soon. The muscle can easily be re-injured if strained before proper healing.

About the Author

Patrick Foley is a writer from Phoenix, AZ. He is a sports fanatic and loves football, golf, and track. He has been writing for Golf Link for almost a year. He is a college football player at the University of Pennsylvania. He is enrolled in the Wharton Business School.He has have a wide set of skills in writing and marketing.