Self Healing Hamstring Strain – Part II: Home Recovery

| April 30, 2015 | Reply

To sum up the situation that was fully described in the previous post: After a long period of playing soccer with no appropriate warm up (especially when speaking of hamstring warm up) i found myself not being able to run normally without feeling pain. This looked like an overuse syndrome and it was a permanent situation that gave me no choice but to work on the problem! After locating the pain area i decided it was all about a hamstring strain grade 1. The bad thing is that i underestimated the issue for almost 2 months and tried to face the strain without a well built schedule. Random stretching and placing ice compress every now and then was no helpful at all! This made things even worse while a gluteal muscle strain grade 2 appeared a bit later!  So after two months of no improvement at all I decided i should build a decent recovery program – the next step would be to visit an orthopaedic or a physio! Please take into consideration what i’ve carefully mentioned in my first post in this “Self-Healer” section so as to avoid possible misunderstandings

My Hamstring Strain Recovery Plan

First step was to take advantage of the web  and find details on the recovery of the strains i mentioned above! Be extremely careful here! You should check many reliable websites that are dedicated to injuries rehabilitation so as to make sure that the information you’ve gathered is accurate and safe! A random google search  (something like “hamstring strain recovery”) can be proved dangerous!  After searching for 2 hours and taking into consideration my rich experience in injuries i was able to create a good schedule! Like i did with my MCL Strain i divided the recovery in two parts : a home recovery part and a gym recovery part which was finally proved to be a very effective choice (provided that both my hamstring and my MCL are 100% ok now).

Notice that after following this program for 2 weeks i was able to fully recover! Let’s first describe the home recovery part:

Home Recovery

1st step – Rest/Elevation/Ice Therapy: For the first two days i followed a rest-elevation-ice therapy program which appeared to be very useful. I was putting iced compress 3 times each day for 25 minutes in my hamstring and gluteal muscle focusing on the core of pain!

2nd step – Warm Up/Stregthening/Stretching/Ice Therapy: Then it was about time to include a stretching/strengthening session in my schedule! Obviously and like i’ve mentioned many times in the past you’d rather not simply stretch or apply a strengthening exercise but combine these with a warm up/ice therapy combo! Also check this for our general guidance on stretching! This part of the schedule was applied for the next 5 days!

  • Warm up: While the pain was not that intense i was able to carefully jog for 8′ inside my room. This is a crucial measure to make sure that the following steps won’t harm you!
  • Strengthening Exercises: The home strenghtening exercises were applied three times in a period of 5 days. I applied the following strengthening exercises having 3×15-20 reps for each of them. I started with 15 reps and while the recovery was getting better I increased the number to 20. I was performing a specific sequence of these exercises (the easiest first and then the trickiest):
    Starting with the hamstring catches (alternating legs) -Pic. 1-, then bridge -Pic. 2-, push back lunge (alternating legs) -Pic. 3-, hip abduction sidelying (alternating legs – i applied this once the gluteal pain became more intense) -Pic. 4- and finally norwegian leg curl (Pic. 5 – keeping my body in that position for almost 30”). Obviously the pre exercising warm up and the post exercising stretching and ice therapy are crucial to secure the area and protect from further damage!
  • Stretching Exercises: The stretching part of the schedule was followed for the next 5 days  in a daily basis, 3 or 4 times per day. While the gluteal strain wasn’t even visible yet i didn’t focus that much on that area. When the gluteal irritation became more intense i included a few gluteal stretches! I was applying each stretch for 30” (never forget to breath properly). Don’t apply the stretch over a limit where pain is intense.
    I started with 3 versions of static/passive leg stretching (2 with straight leg and 1 with bent leg – you will be able to apply the bent leg stretch without the belt after a few times of applying the specific stretch, pics. 6-8), then the pigeon stretch (pic. 9 – a great active static stretch coming from yoga practices) which works great for both the gluteal and the hamstring muscles and finally a static/passive gluteal stretch (pic. 10). The last stretch is not necessary if you don’t face a gluteal strain (unfortunately in my case i had to face both strains).
  • Ice Therapy: After each stretching session an iced compress should be placed in the pain area.

Photos

Hopefully i will take my own photos applying the previous exercises and stretches but while this will take much time i decided to use some photos found online for now!

Strengthening Exercises at Home

Hamstring Catches

Pic1. – Hamstring Catches

Bridge

Pic. 2 – Bridge

 

push back lunges

Pic. 3 – Push Back Lunges

hip abduction sidelying

Pic. 4 – Hip Abduction Sidelying

nordic hamstring curl

Pic. 5 – Norwegian Leg Curl

Stretching Exercises at Home

Pic. 6 - Static/Passive Bent Leg Stretch

Pic. 6 – Static/Passive Bent Leg Stretch

Pic. 7 - Static/Passive Straight Leg Stretch

Pic. 7 – Static/Passive Straight Leg Stretch

Pic. 9 - Static/Passive Straight Leg Stretch

Pic. 8 – Static/Passive Straight Leg Stretch

Pic. 9 - Pigeon Stretch

Pic. 9 – Pigeon Stretch

Pic. 10 - Gluteal Stretch

Pic. 10 – Passive/Static Gluteal Stretch

So, to sum up the home part of the hamstring strain recovery: i applied rest/elevation/ice therapy for the first two days and daily stretching, 3/4 times per day, for the next 5 days (combined with 3 days of strengthening exercises)! The Stretching/Strengthening program was combined with pre exercising warm up and post exercising ice therapy! The next article will describe the gym recovery part of my schedule!

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