A pulled muscle occurs when the muscle is strained or stretched too far, creating small tears within the muscle. This generates aching, tightening, and stiffening in the muscle, which can be extremely uncomfortable and painful. The hamstring is commonly strained, which can hinder athletes from performing a variety of activities, including running, walking, and jumping.
A muscle pull is a common injury among athletes who train in high-speed activities, such as sprinting, but it can be prevented.
There are a few basic steps athletes at every level should follow to stay safe and prevent injuries like pulled muscles.
Muscle strains can usually be treated without seeing a doctor. Resting and avoiding strenuous activities allows the strain to heal, while icing aids in reducing the pain and bleeding of the muscle.
To help your athletes avoid pulling muscles, follow these simple guidelines from the sports medicine experts at Advanced Orthopedic Specialists:
- Strength Training – Weaker muscles are more susceptible to muscle pulls than stronger ones. Adopting a full-body strength training routine will make your athletes’ muscles stronger and more resistant to pulls.
- Warm-Up – Warming up prior to a workout will prepare your athletes’ muscles for the strenuous activity they are about to endure. Increasing body and muscle temperature makes muscles less likely to be strained. Warming up can include a brisk walk or light calisthenics.
- Stretch – Stretching reduces tension in muscles, provides a better range of motion, promotes better circulation, improves flexibility, and can lead to increased energy levels. Performing a slow, deliberate stretch for each muscle group will help prevent pulled muscles throughout the course of the workout or game.