The hamstrings are a group of three large skeletal muscles at the back of the thigh. These muscles control bending the knee joint and extending and bending the hip joint.
As you can imagine, they’re used extensively by athletes in sports that require rapid sprinting and sudden stops, like soccer, basketball, and football. In fact, 37% of soccer injuries are hamstring injuries. Dancers, skiers, and anyone else who often needs to bend their knees in deep squats are also prone to hamstring damage.
If you’ve suffered a hamstring injury, it’s important to consider the extent of the damage and how to treat it. Chiropractic help is enough to aid recovery in all but the most extreme injuries.
Hamstring Injury Categories
Hamstring injuries are classified into three levels:
- Grade One: The hamstring muscles were overstretched but not to the point of tearing.
- You will still have almost full use of your leg, but the discomfort will be apparent. Expect mild pain, swelling, and even spasms.
- Grade Two: At least one hamstring muscle has partially torn.
- You will lose some leg strength and the pain and swelling will be sharper. Expect bruises on the back of your thigh and sudden bursts of pain when you use your leg or bend your knee under resistance.
- Grade Three: At least one hamstring muscle has completely torn away from the bone, possibly taking a piece of bone with it.
- The leg will very likely be unusable. There will be severe pain, swelling, tenderness, and bruising. Grade three hamstring injuries can usually be identified by a painful popping at the time of injury.
Hamstring Injury Prevention
Hamstring injuries are common, but there are two common methods to help protect yourself.
- Warm-up before exercise.
- Improve glute strength. Glutes are the three sets of buttocks muscles. Hamstrings and glutes work as a team. If your glutes are weak, the hamstrings will be overworked and more likely to pull or tear.
Chiropractic Care for Hamstring Injuries
In all but the most severe cases, hamstring injuries don’t require surgery. Most will heal on their own over time with rest, compression, ice, and elevation. However, chiropractic treatment can speed the healing process along and better strengthen hamstrings against future injuries.
Chiropractic treatment for hamstring injuries includes:
- Chiropractic adjustment of the knee, hip, pelvis, and spin as needed to restore motion to the area controlled by the injured hamstring.
- Soft tissue treatment to break up scar tissue. If not broken up, scar tissue will clump together and negatively impact the flexibility and tightness of the muscle.
- Electrotherapy and ultrasound can also aid the process in some cases.
- Applying a strengthening regiment after motion is restored, including gradually lifting heavier weights until full strength is restored.
Hamstring Injury Expertise
Our experienced team at Spine Health & Wellness has extensive experience treating all three grades of hamstring injury. If you’ve suffered from a hamstring pull or tear, reach out to us to begin your recovery.