Hamstring injuries can be painful and debilitating and often occur during physical activities such as sports, exercise or even everyday movements like running or walking. They can happen easily, but you can prevent them with the proper precautions.
Tips to Prevent Hamstring Injuries
Adopt these precautions and lower your risk of hamstring injuries:
- Warm up before engaging in physical activity. A warm-up routine should include dynamic stretching exercises and light cardiovascular exercises to increase blood flow to the muscles and prepare them for action.
- Stretch frequently. Incorporate static stretching into your routine to increase flexibility in your hamstrings. It would be best to stretch after the warm-up so the muscles are ready. Hold each stretch for 15–30 seconds without bouncing or forcing it.
- Strengthen your hamstrings. Strengthening can help prevent hamstring injuries by improving the muscle’s stability and strength. Include exercises such as leg curls, deadlifts and glute bridges in your routine to target the hamstring muscles.
- Use proper technique. Maintaining good form and appropriately executing moves is crucial to avoid unnecessary strain on your hamstrings.
- Gradually increase the duration and intensity. Avoid sudden increases in the intensity or duration of physical activities, as this can strain your hamstrings excessively. Instead, steadily increase the intensity or duration of your workouts to allow your muscles to adapt.
- Wear appropriate footwear. Footwear should provide adequate support and cushioning to reduce the risk of hamstring injuries. Choose shoes that fit correctly and are designed for the specific activity you are engaging in.
- Take breaks. Avoid overdoing physical activities and give your hamstrings adequate time to rest and recover. Taking breaks and incorporating rest days into your routine can help prevent overuse injuries.
- Stay hydrated. Dehydration can increase the risk of muscle cramps and strains. Stay hydrated before, during and after physical activities to keep your muscles functioning optimally.
- Listen to your body. Pay attention to any warning signs or discomfort in your hamstrings. If you feel pain, stop and rest. If the pain persists, seek medical attention before resuming physical activities.
- Seek professional advice. If you need clarification on the proper techniques or precautions to prevent hamstring injuries, seek the counsel of a qualified coach, personal trainer or sports-injury doctor like Dr. Jonathan L. Glashow.
Treatment Options for Hamstring Injuries If Precautions Fail
Integrating these recommendations into your routine can help reduce the risk of hamstring injuries. However, if prevention fails, treatment options are available. These include rest, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, compression and elevation or surgical intervention.
The extent of the damage determines the appropriate treatment plan, but you need a diagnosis for that. A consultation with Dr. Glashow can provide both and help you get back to your active self as soon as possible. Call one of his medical facilities immediately if you suffer a hamstring or other injury.