With summer sports season in full swing, the inevitable rash of hamstring injuries has begun. And while I believe that the Active Release Techniques (ART) work we do here at Denver Chiropractic Center is the best possible treatment for hamstring injuries, today I thought I’d show you a few things you can do at home.
The hamstrings are a group of three muscles that make up the mass at the back of the thigh. They function to two important ways: flexing the knee and extending the hip. They are very active in running, especially up hills (almost impossible to avoid here in Colorado.) And that’s exactly how I hurt mine this season.
So, you’ve hurt yourself…
The first thing you should do if you hurt yourself severely enough to be concerned is to reach for the ice (NOT heat). Ice will control excess inflammation and generally shorten the healing process. Heat has the opposite effect. So for the first 3 days, use ice – 20 minutes on, at least an hour off, then repeat as much as you can stand it.
Some research also indicates that an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen can also help reduce overall healing time. However, use these products only for a day or two as they will interfere with the repair process in the long run. (check with your medical doc first, please as over the counter drugs can interact with other drugs /supplements you may be taking.)
This is the last time I’ll say this, but the earlier you call us at 303.300.0424, the faster we can help you get fixed up. Janna and Keri are standing by to take your call. Did you know we have hours until 7PM on Tuesday and Thursday?
Assuming a few days have gone by, you can start with some easy rehab.
Start with the Trigger Point Ball. Many of you have official Trigger Point Balls, which work great for what we’re about to cover. A humble, ordinary tennis ball will also serve fairly well.
Sit on a counter or high solid chair, and put the ball under your hamstring. You should feel the ball, and lean into it a bit. Then slowly start flexing and extending you knee. Do about 3 sets of 15 slow reps. The Trigger Point Ball (available in our clinic) helps complement the Active Release work by preventing adhesions from forming while your hammie is healing.
|Keri with the TP ball|
|Keri with the TP ball under her hamstring|
|Keri extending her knee, with the ball under the hammie|
Another great option is the foam roller. The key to working up high with this is to bend the opposite leg (like the pic, if you can). Roll back and forth slowly for about a minute.
After a week or two of Active Release and rehab using the Trigger Point Ball and the TP roller, it’s time to move on to some more integrative rehab work. We like the single leg deadlift. You can see a video of that here: