How to Heal a Pulled / Torn Hamstring.

Just over six weeks ago, I had a vision. My Pilates instructor and I were discussing goals, and I immediately imagined myself flexible and limber enough to do a full straddle split. While I thought this flexibility would be particularly beneficial in the bedroom, it would also help my running performance and gymnastics.

And so I became a man on a mission – and worked tirelessly to stretch my tightened leg muscles. On one such occasion, I held a deep straddle stretch and timed it for five minutes. By the end, my brow was dripping in sweat and I knew that I had pushed myself. Perhaps, a little too far.

Muscles stretch best when warmed up, and so I always do cardio before any sort of static stretching. In this instance, however, my warm-up wasn’t enough and my stretch was too deep – and it soon became clear that my hamstring muscle was pulled.

First, I’m not a doctor – and so I’m not in the business of giving medical advice. I will share, however, how I was able to treat my pulled muscle using a popular method called R.I.C.E. It includes rest, ice, compression and elevation. I’d also add a “P” to the acronym, short for patience, and thus advise the “P.R.I.C.E.” method.

  1. Patience. I am six weeks into my pulled hamstring recovery, and I’m still not fully healed. It takes time. Lots of it. You must have patience with your body or else you’re going to experience a great deal of frustration.
  2. Rest. As an avid runner, having to skip cardio or leg workouts felt like a prison sentence. However, continual strain causes increased inflammation – and increase recovery time. You should rest until the pain is gone – and know that this may take many, many weeks.
  3. Ice. Icing an injury for 15 minutes, several times a day, is a great way to reduce inflammation. Go the the pharmacy and get yourself a decent, reusable ice pack. Wrap it in a paper towel and apply the ice pack to the injured area.
  4. Compression. An elastic bandage or tape can reduce the swelling that results from the inflammatory process.
  5. Elevation. Elevating your leg both aids in the waste removal process and decreases inflammation.

Of the five, I believe that patience and rest are paramount. They’re also the most difficult. I keep finding myself thinking, “Oh, a little run couldn’t hurt.” But in reality, you’re likely to just further extend and already long recovery time. Give your body time to repair, rebuild and recover.

Within another week or two, after missing nearly two months of cardio, I’ll be getting back into the game. I’ll enjoy working back up to my previous abilities… just don’t expect a split anytime soon. ๐Ÿ˜›

Have you ever suffered from a pulled hamstring? Let me know about it in the comments below. How did you recover?

About Davey Wavey

Davey Wavey is a certified personal trainer and YouTube sensation with more than 250 million video views. For Davey's fitness tips and secrets, sign up for his free monthly newsletter - or download any of his affordable and effective workout programs.

Comments

  1. As a sports medicine professional i have worked on many athletes and the steps you identified are so very important. i am glad you are getting back to “normal”
    There are other things you cold do to work on cardio, but i am glad you learned patience.

    Let me know if i can help in other ways!

  2. i tore my right hamstring and glute while dancing (the slipper floor made me do an actual split when i usually cant) it took about 2 and a half moths for me to recover. i went to acupuncture therapy and it helped a lot. when i could walk again, i did elliptical for cardio and it didn’t hurt my leg/butt at all!

  3. I had a similar injury to my hip flexor from water polo, and I can’t help but agree with everything you said. Those muscles in your legs are quite large and I don’t think we realise how often we use them.
    Being short on the Patience portion of the equation myself, I was back in the pool last night, and I was quite efficiently reminded that, although mostly healed, I’m still not quite 100% yet lol

    *sigh…

  4. I pulled my hamstring last year while practicing Kungfu. I had already streched it out, but pulled it while doing a side jump kick. It just goes to show that even though most of the power of the jump was coming from my quads and glutes, there’s still a lot of tension on the other side of the leg to balance everything. Even though it was only a minor pull, it was a wake up call to tell me that I was over doing it. Listen to your body. It’s not gonna lie!

  5. I recently started doing TaeKwonDo and it requires a lot of flexibility, something which I’m not, at all. I want to just randomly split my legs into the floor but it probably won’t happen anytime soon, one of my goals though. however I do take cold showers after each practice I find that it helps .

  6. Dave from Boston says:

    I messed up my rotator cuff. It was not a complete tear but excruciating pain for a good week. Percoset didn’t even help much. I am just about there after 3 months of no working out at all. I couldn’t even run because the bouncing caused to much pain in the shoulder. It has taken so long to recover because I work in construction so my shoulder never quite got the rest it needed. I have gained a good 15 lbs!!! I can’t wait to get back into my fitness routine!

  7. Great article on dealing with a pulled hamstring, I talk about the mental side of recovery from a hamstring injury on my website. It is one of the most common injuries to suffer a relapse of. Good luck with your injury i hope it works out well.