Function: the Hamstring is responsible for Hip extension, hip flexion, knee flexion, and knee extension.
Many people do not know what to do when they feel tenderness that seems to go from their glutes down to the back of their knee. These “pains” are very common to people who participate in drill team, dancing, and running; the tenderness these athletes experience is called Hamstring Strain and there are certain steps people can take to minimize the discomfort when it occurs:
Ice: ice the hamstring for 20 – 30 minutes right after the irritation occurs – continue ice every 15 minutes for 2-3 hours. Avoid heat; heat will increase the swelling. However, if you notice a large lump please go see a doctor - the injury could be a muscle tear.
Rest: Hard for an athlete to do. Rest for 2-3 days, and then start stretching the hamstring applying dynamic stretches. Dynamic stretches help with the gentle and progressive movement of muscles into their natural movements. When dynamic stretches become easy, and are without pain, individuals can then progress to static stretches. If there is no pain relief, see a doctor.
When ice, rest, and dynamic stretches do not help and the pain becomes unbearable, consult with a physical therapist, orthopedic doctor, and/or a sports MD.
Prevent reoccurrence: Peter Drucker said “an ounce of prevention is better than a ton of cure”. In the past, lunges have been believed the primary culprit for hamstring injury - but it is also an excellent preventive measure. A good warm-up, 10-15 minutes, and stretches before lunges, will help with prevention. Lunges help with hip extension, but “cold” lunges (lunges without warm-up) may contribute to hamstring strain and pain. The following exercises will help fight against hamstring injury: walking backwards, running backwards, back extensions, donkey kicks (reverse leg extension), superman, squats, and high step-ups.
Quick Memory tips
S.I.R.S (Stop, Ice, Rest, Stretch Dynamically)