If you are a runner who has recently developed a hamstring sprain, then you may want to think about going through some physical therapy treatments to help with the healing process. A sports injury therapist is the professional you should see. This person will do a number of things to restore strength and movement and to also reduce your discomfort. Some of the most important things will occur at the very beginning of therapy. Keep reading to understand what these things are.

Swelling Reduction

When your initial hamstring sprain develops, you will likely feel some discomfort. The discomfort will depend on the grade of the injury. The grade is also used to determine severity. Your injury will be assessed as a grade I, II, or III injury. Grade I involves minimal tearing of the hamstring muscle, while grade II and II injuries involve more serious tears. Swelling will develop in relation to the injury, with more serious inflammation seen with grade II and III injuries.

If swelling is moderate to severe, then inflammation control is something that the physical therapist will likely address. This will involve the wrapping of the hamstring. In some cases an elastic hamstring wrap can be provided and secured on your leg. Your injury type and the size of the injury will determine the size of the wrap. A long compression sleeve that rests on your leg from hip to knee may be needed. 

If the sleeve does not provide enough compression or if the injury is more localized, then the therapist may instead use athletic tape on your leg. Listen closely to the instructions given by the therapist when the tape is secured. Tape will need to be changed once every day or two, and you will want to understand where the tape should be placed and also how tight it should be wrapped.


As soon as swelling decreases, your physical therapist will start to work with you slowly to rebuild range of motion in the hamstring muscle. This is often needed, because the new muscle fibers that build in the leg are generally tight and hard. This can make you feel quite stiff. Also, since the fibers are new, you do not want to overwork them. This can cause some new tears to develop. 

Your physical therapist will use manual stretching techniques to loosen the hamstring. This will usually begin without any weight being placed on the leg. As physical therapy progresses, you will start to use some basic machines to continue strengthening your leg. You also may be asked to complete some stretching and basic hamstring exercises at home. During this process, your pain level will be considered so that your therapy progresses with your health in mind.