How to Treat a Torn Hamstring

By Larry Parr

Your hamstrings are a large group of powerful muscles and tendons that run between the upper part of your shinbone and your pelvis, running up the back of your thigh. The bad news is that your hamstrings are easily torn; a powerful golf swing can tear your hamstrings. The good news is that most hamstring injuries will heal themselves and those that need extra care generally pose few long-term problems if proper precautions are taken.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Step 1
Lie down and rest. Keep weight off the injury, especially for the first 72 hours. If the pain is extreme see your physician. If the muscles and tendons have completely separated from the bone (usually at the hip) then surgery might be required to fix the problem.
Step 2
Ice the affected area while resting. Keep an ice pack on the injury for 20 minutes and then remove the pack for half an hour. Repeat this procedure for several hours until the swelling has gone down slightly and the pain has begun to subside.
Step 3
Use crutches to walk, keeping all weight off of the injured leg.
Step 4
Apply a heat pack to the injured area and gently straighten the leg after 72 hours. Move your leg slowly and cautiously until it is as straight as you can get it without causing additional damage. You can then relax your leg and allow it to bend (which will be a less painful position). Do not do this during the first 72 hours of the injury.
Step 5
Straighten out your leg (slowly and carefully) twice a day starting 72 hours after the injury to prevent the hamstring from healing with your leg in a permanently bent position.You do not have to straighten the leg completely at this point.
Step 6
Straighten your leg three times a day (again, being gentle and moving slowly) beginning the fifth day following your injury. Heat compresses can be applied to the hamstring area prior to straightening the leg in order to relax the muscles and make your job less painful.
Step 7
Continue the straightening exercise throughout the next week or so until the pain begins to subside. Once the pain has subsided sufficiently, straighten the leg completely and keep it in a straight position for at least an hour. Continue to use crutches but experiment with putting weight on the leg; only put weight on the leg if the pain level is not too intense.

Tips & Warnings

It is a good idea to see a doctor if you believe the tear in your hamstring is severe or if the area turns black from blood pooling beneath the skin.
Full recovery could take four to six weeks. It's a good idea to abstain from golfing during this period as you can further injure the hamstring.

About The Author

Larry Parr has been a full-time professional freelance writer for more than 30 years. For 25 years he wrote cartoons for TV, everything from SMURFS to SPIDER-MAN.


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