St. Luke's Hospital
Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
America's 50 Best Hospitals
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia

    Print-Friendly
    Bookmarks

    Hamstring strain - aftercare

    Pulled hamstring muscle

    A strain is when a muscle becomes overstretched and tears. This painful injury is also called a "pulled muscle."

    If you have strained your hamstring, you have pulled one or more of the muscles on the back of your upper leg (thigh).

    More about a Hamstring Strain

    There are three levels of hamstring strains:

    • Grade 1 -- mild muscle strain or pull
    • Grade 2 -- partial muscle tear
    • Grade 3 -- complete muscle tear

    Recovery time depends on the grade of the injury. A minor grade 1 injury can heal in a few days, while a grade 3 injury could take much longer to heal or need surgery.

    What to Expect

    You can expect swelling, tenderness, and pain after a hamstring strain. Walking may be painful.

    To help your hamstring muscle heal, you may need:

    • A knee splint for a short period of time
    • Crutches, if you cannot put any weight on your leg
    • A special bandage wrapped around your thigh (compression bandage)

    Symptoms, such as pain and soreness, may last:

    • 2 - 5 days for a grade 1 injury
    • Up to a few weeks or a month for grade 2 or 3 injuries.

    If the injury is very close to the buttock or knee or there is a lot of bruising:

    • Thismay mean the hamstring was pulled off the bone.
    • You will likely be referred to a sports medicine or bone (orthopedic) doctor.

    Symptom Relief

    Follow these steps for the first few days or weeks after your injury:

    • Rest -- halt any physical activity that causes pain. Keep your leg as still as possible. You may need crutches when you have to move.
    • Ice -- put ice on your hamstring for about 20 minutes, 2 - 3 times a day. Do not apply ice directly to your skin.
    • Compression -- a compression bandage or wrap can reduce swelling and ease pain.
    • Elevation -- when sitting, keep your leg raised slightly to reduce swelling.

    For pain, you can use ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), or acetaminophen (Tylenol). You can buy these pain medicines at the store.

    • Talk with your health care provider before using these medicines if you have heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, or have had stomach ulcers or internal bleeding in the past.
    • Do not take more than the amount recommended on the bottle or by your health care provider.

    Getting Active Again

    When your pain has decreased enough, you can begin light stretching and light physical activity. Make sure you health care provider knows.

    Slowly increase your physical activity, such as walking. Follow the exercises your doctor gave you. As your hamstring heals and gets stronger, you can add more stretches and exercises.

    Take care not to push yourself too hard or too fast. A hamstring strain can recur, or your hamstring may tear.

    Talk to your doctor before returning to work or any physical activity. Returning to normal activity too early can cause re-injury.

    Follow-up

    Follow up with your doctor 1 - 2 weeks after your injury. Based on your injury, your doctor may want to see you more than once during the healing process.

    When to Call the Doctor

    Call your doctor if:

    • You have sudden numbness or tingling
    • You notice a sudden increase in pain or swelling
    • Your injury does not seem to be healing as expected

    References

    Ali K, Leland JM. Hamstring strains and tears in the athlete. Clin Sports Med. 2012 Apr;31(2):263-72.

    Vetter CS, Hoch AZ. Hamstrong strain. In: Frontera, WR, Silver JK, Rizzo TD Jr, eds. Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2008:chap 59.

    BACK TO TOP

          A Closer Look

            Self Care

            Review Date: 6/28/2012

            Reviewed By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.

            The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
            adam.com

            A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.


            Back  |  Top
            About Us
            Contact Us
            History
            Mission
            Locations & Directions
            Quality Reports
            Annual Reports
            Honors & Awards
            Community Health Needs
            Assessment

            Newsroom
            Services
            Brain & Spine
            Cancer
            Heart
            Maternity
            Orthopedics
            Pulmonary
            Sleep Medicine
            Urgent Care
            Women's Services
            All Services
            Patients & Visitors
            Locations & Directions
            Find a Physician
            Tour St. Luke's
            Patient & Visitor Information
            Contact Us
            Payment Options
            Financial Assistance
            Send a Card
            Mammogram Appointments
            Health Tools
            My Personal Health
            mystlukes
            Spirit of Women
            Health Information & Tools
            Clinical Trials
            Health Risk Assessments
            Employer Programs -
            Passport to Wellness

            Classes & Events
            Classes & Events
            Spirit of Women
            Donate & Volunteer
            Giving Opportunities
            Volunteer
            Physicians & Employees
            For Physicians
            Remote Access
            Medical Residency Information
            Pharmacy Residency Information
            Physician CPOE Training
            Careers
            Careers
            St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
            Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Patient Notice of Privacy Policies PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile