The hamstring plays a pivotal role in walking, jumping, running, cycling and swimming. The hamstrings are the powerhouse of your legs. They allow you to bend your knees, straighten your leg and control movement from the hip. A hamstring injury can cause a big disruption in your fitness or training regimen, leaving you on the couch for weeks if not treated right.
As with any injury, immediately stop exercising. To reduce inflammation and swelling start icing your hamstring right away and continue with R.I.C.E. therapy (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevate).
During the first few days, ice your hamstring with your leg straight. This will help control the swelling and gently stretch the muscle. Heat should not be applied as it may increase swelling or muscle bleeding. Use the compression bandage instead.
If you’re still hurting after a few days, use a heating pad to increase blood flow to the affected area to speed healing. Kinesiology tape (KT) may help reduce swelling by taking pressure off overused muscles and arrest the pain.
Once your pain has abated, begin stretching your joints and muscles. Gentle stretching and light resistance will help you recover properly from your hamstring injury.
Here are two effective stretches to help stretch out your hamstring: