Having torn (also called “pulled”) each of my hamstrings twice ( =4 total) already in my short life, I consider myself a sort of connoisseur of “fine hamstrings tears” .
Being so, this what I know:
- Don’t stretch
- Don’t ice
- Don’t use anti-inflammatories
All 3 of these will extend the healing process and may sideline you for up to a month (as I was with my first one).
When we tear a hamstring (or another muscle), our body initiates the inflammatory process to start healing and rebuilding the muscle. The swelling and redness we often see is a part of this. We have, however, come to think this is “bad“, so we use ice and ibuprofen to “cut down on the inflammation“. If we substitute Healing for Inflammation we can see just how dumb this is.
So instead, let it be.
Rest, eat a better diet, and decrease stress (this means less exercise), and you’ll recover 2 -3x faster.
This difference will be weeks.
All of my hamstring tears have come doing sprints @ top speed. And all of them have come when I was dehydrated and at the end of a high-volume session. So my words for prevention: Bring a water jug to the track to help stay hydrated. I know this, but each time I forget it bad stuff happens.
“Dehydration reduces blood flow to muscles and decreases muscle elasticity or flexibility and endurance, thereby resulting in muscle weakness and cramps, which increase your risk of muscle injuries such as a hamstring strain.”