Question :

Hamstring strain: how long will it take to heal?

Dear Ask The Doctor:
I was stretching excessively every day for a week and that on saturday my hamstring in the back of my thigh felt really tight and pain full to stretch but i didn't think anything of it and then on sunday i did a hamstring stretch and right away shooting pain went through the hamstring that had been hurting the day before. so i iced it for the rest of the day and then heated it for a day or two after and it didn't hurt anymore it just felt a little weird and tight when i walked. my doctor said that he thinks i pulled a tendon in my knee and that i cant dance for four weeks. i think that four weeks is way too long because i really don't think i did anything all that bad.


Answer :

Dear Patient: 
 A muscle sprain involves the tearing or stretching of the ligaments beyond their normal capacity. A muscle strain is associated with the tearing or excessive stretching of the muscle and can be equally as painful. Any muscle strain or muscle pull or even a muscle tear implies damage to the muscle itself and/or its attaching tendons. The time of healing varies from patient to patient and also depends on the severity of the initial injury. The conservative treatment basically consists of: initially, protection, rest, ice, compression, and elevation (known as the PRICE formula) can help the affected muscle and also maintaining the strained muscle in a stretched position. Heat can be applied when the swelling has lessened, anti-inflammatory medication (i.e.: “Aleve”), rest the strained muscle and avoid any activities that may have caused the strain and other activities that may be painful. A Physical Therapy program for 4-6 weeks may help you big time,it must be followed and you may practice at home the stretching exercises above all. The healing time and conditions for each patient are different, but usually it takes between 4-6 weeks to recover and back to the normal activities progressively. Avoid overuse and try to do an appropriate warming-up and stretching before significant physical activity.


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