Running Injuries

How to Heal a Pulled Hamstring in 2 Days

Hamstring Injury Rehab


A pulled hamstring can be a painful and frustrating injury that can hinder your daily activities and athletic pursuits. Whether you’re an athlete, fitness enthusiast, or simply someone who pulled their hamstring during everyday activities, the road to recovery can seem daunting. However, with the right approach and timely intervention, it is possible to expedite the healing process and get back on your feet in just two days.

In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the steps to effectively heal a pulled hamstring in a short timeframe. From understanding the nature of the injury to implementing a combination of self-care, exercises, and professional guidance, we will cover all the crucial aspects of this healing journey.

hamstring strain

Remember, while we aim for a rapid recovery, it’s crucial to listen to your body and avoid rushing the process, as this could lead to setbacks. Let’s dive in and discover how you can successfully overcome a pulled hamstring and return to your active lifestyle in just two days.

How to Heal a Pulled Hamstring in 2 Days

Understanding a Pulled Hamstring

A pulled hamstring, also known as a hamstring strain, is a common injury that affects the muscles at the back of your thigh. It occurs when the muscles or tendons in the hamstring are stretched beyond their normal limits or torn due to sudden and excessive force. This injury is prevalent among athletes who engage in sports involving running, jumping, or sudden accelerations, but it can also occur during everyday activities.

1. Causes of a Pulled Hamstring:

  • Overexertion: Pushing the hamstring muscles beyond their capacity, especially during intense physical activities, can lead to strains.
  • Lack of Warm-up: Failing to properly warm up before exercise can make the muscles more susceptible to injury.
  • Poor Flexibility: Tight hamstrings are more prone to strain during sudden movements.
  • Muscle Imbalances: Weakness in other leg muscles can put extra stress on the hamstrings.
  • Fatigue: Exhausted muscles are more likely to get injured during physical activity.
  • Previous Injuries: A history of hamstring strains can increase the risk of re-injury.

2. Grades of Hamstring Strains:

Hamstring strains are categorized into three grades based on their severity:

How to heal a pulled hamstring in 2 days

Grade 1: Mild strain with minimal muscle or tendon damage, causing minor discomfort and stiffness.

Grade 2: Partial tear of the muscle or tendon, leading to moderate pain, swelling, and limited mobility.

Grade 3: Severe tear or rupture, causing intense pain, extensive swelling, and significant loss of function.

3. Symptoms of a Pulled Hamstring:

  • Sudden, sharp pain at the back of the thigh during physical activity.
  • Swelling and tenderness in the affected area.
  • Bruising or discoloration may appear in more severe cases.
  • Difficulty in walking, running, or bending the knee without pain.
  • Muscle weakness and reduced range of motion.

Understanding the causes, grades, and symptoms of a pulled hamstring is essential for both proper diagnosis and determining the appropriate treatment plan. If you suspect you have a pulled hamstring, it’s crucial to avoid activities that aggravate the injury and seek medical advice promptly to assess the extent of the strain and begin the healing process effectively.

Immediate Response and Initial Treatment

When you experience a pulled hamstring, taking immediate action is crucial to minimize the damage, reduce inflammation, and promote faster healing. The following steps outline the initial treatment you should implement as soon as the injury occurs:

1. Stop the Activity: If you feel a sudden sharp pain or strain in your hamstring during physical activity, stop immediately. Continuing to exercise could worsen the injury and delay recovery.

2. R.I.C.E Protocol: The R.I.C.E protocol is a standard first aid approach for soft tissue injuries like a pulled hamstring.

  • Rest: Avoid putting weight on the affected leg and minimize movement to prevent further strain.
  • Ice: Apply an ice pack wrapped in a thin cloth to the injured area for 15-20 minutes every 1-2 hours during the first 48 hours. This helps reduce swelling and numbs the pain.
  • Compression: Use a compression bandage to wrap the hamstring gently. Compression helps limit swelling and provides support to the injured muscles.
  • Elevation: Elevate your leg by propping it up on a cushion or pillow when resting. Keeping the leg elevated helps reduce swelling.

3. Over-the-Counter Pain Relief: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen can help reduce pain and inflammation. Always follow the recommended dosage and consult a healthcare professional if you have any medical conditions or concerns.

4. Avoid HARM: In addition to the R.I.C.E protocol, it’s essential to avoid HARM during the initial treatment phase:

  • Heat: Avoid using heat packs or hot baths during the first 48 hours, as they can increase blood flow and swelling.
  • Alcohol: Refrain from consuming alcohol, as it can increase bleeding and swelling.
  • Running or Activity: Avoid any activity that puts strain on the injured hamstring during the initial phase of healing.
  • Massage: Do not massage the injured area initially, as it may exacerbate the strain.

5. Seek Medical Attention:If the pain is severe, you are unable to bear weight on the leg, or the injury is accompanied by significant swelling and bruising, it’s essential to seek medical attention promptly. A healthcare professional can assess the severity of the strain and provide appropriate guidance for recovery.

Remember, the immediate response and initial treatment play a crucial role in the healing process of a pulled hamstring. By following the R.I.C.E protocol, avoiding HARM, and seeking medical advice when necessary, you can take the first steps towards a speedy and successful recovery.

Gentle Stretching and Range of Motion Exercises

As your pulled hamstring begins to heal, introducing gentle stretching and range of motion exercises can play a crucial role in promoting flexibility, preventing stiffness, and aiding in the recovery process. However, it’s essential to approach these exercises with caution and avoid pushing yourself too hard to prevent re-injury. Here are some gentle stretching and range of motion exercises that you can incorporate into your recovery routine:

Hamstring Stretch – Supine:

    • Lie on your back with both legs extended.
    • Gently bend one knee and bring it toward your chest.
    • Loop a towel or resistance band around the arch of your foot and hold the ends with your hands.
    • Straighten your knee while keeping your foot flexed, pulling gently on the towel or band to stretch your hamstring.
    • Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds, then release and switch legs.
    • Repeat 3-4 times on each leg.

Hamstring Stretch – Seated:

  • Sit on the edge of a chair or bench with one leg extended straight in front of you.
  • Flex your foot, and gently reach forward, reaching towards your toes without bouncing.
  • Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds, feeling the stretch along the back of your thigh.
  • Release and switch legs, repeating the stretch 3-4 times on each leg.

Knee-to-Chest Stretch:

  • Lie on your back with both legs extended.
  • Gently bring one knee toward your chest, holding it with your hands or clasping your hands behind your thigh.
  • Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds, feeling the stretch in your lower back and buttocks.
  • Release and switch legs, repeating 3-4 times on each leg.

Quadriceps Stretch:

  • Stand with one hand against a wall or sturdy object for balance.
  • Bend one knee and bring your heel toward your buttocks, grasping your ankle with your hand.
  • Keep your knees close together and your back straight.
  • Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds, feeling the stretch in the front of your thigh.
  • Release and switch legs, repeating 3-4 times on each leg.

Ankle Circles:

  • Sit on a chair or the floor with your legs extended.
  • Lift one leg off the ground and begin making circular motions with your ankle.
  • Perform 10-15 circles in one direction, then switch to the other direction.
  • Lower your foot and repeat with the other leg.

Remember to perform these stretches gently and gradually. Never force your body into painful positions, and if you feel any discomfort, stop immediately. As your hamstring heals and becomes more flexible, you can gradually increase the intensity and duration of your stretches. Additionally, it’s a good idea to consult with a physical therapist to ensure you are doing the exercises correctly and to receive personalized guidance based on your specific injury and recovery progress.

Strengthening Exercises and Rehabilitation

Strengthening the hamstring muscles and surrounding muscle groups is a critical part of the rehabilitation process for a pulled hamstring. Building strength not only supports the injured area but also helps prevent future injuries and enhances overall performance. Here are some effective strengthening exercises and rehabilitation techniques to aid in your recovery:

Isometric Hamstring Contractions:

  • Lie on your back with both legs extended.
  • Bend the knee of the injured leg slightly, so your foot remains flat on the floor.
  • Press your heel into the ground while engaging the hamstring muscles.
  • Hold the contraction for 5-10 seconds, then relax.
  • Repeat for 10-15 repetitions, gradually increasing the duration of the contractions as you feel more comfortable.

Hamstring Curls with Resistance Band:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and loop a resistance band around your ankles.
  • Shift your weight to one leg and slightly bend the knee.
  • Slowly lift the other leg backward, engaging the hamstring muscles.
  • Keep your back straight and avoid leaning forward.
  • Lower the leg back down with control.
  • Perform 10-15 repetitions on each leg, gradually increasing the resistance of the band.

Bridge Exercise:

  • Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  • Engage your core and lift your hips off the ground, forming a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.
  • Squeeze your glutes and hamstrings to maintain the bridge position for a few seconds.
  • Lower your hips back down to the ground.
  • Perform 10-15 repetitions, gradually increasing the duration of the hold.

Single-Leg Romanian Deadlift:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and a slight bend in your knees.
  • Shift your weight onto one leg and slightly lift the other leg off the ground behind you.
  • Hinge at your hips and lower your upper body toward the ground while extending the lifted leg backward.
  • Keep your back straight and engage your core for stability.
  • Return to the starting position with control.
  • Perform 8-10 repetitions on each leg.

Hamstring Foam Rolling:

  • Sit on the floor with your legs extended.
  • Place a foam roller under your thighs, just above your knees.
  • Use your hands to lift your body off the ground and roll back and forth over the foam roller, targeting the hamstrings.
  • If you find a tender spot, hold gentle pressure on it for 15-30 seconds.
  • Continue rolling and releasing tension in the hamstrings for 1-2 minutes.

Start with low resistance and light weights, gradually increasing the intensity as your hamstring heals and gains strength. If you experience pain or discomfort during any exercise, stop immediately and consult with a physical therapist or healthcare professional.

They can assess your progress, provide guidance on proper form, and customize a comprehensive rehabilitation plan to ensure a safe and effective recovery from your pulled hamstring injury. Regularly performing these strengthening exercises will not only aid in healing but also improve your overall hamstring strength and resilience, reducing the risk of future injuries.

Avoiding Future Hamstring Injuries

  • Warm-up properly with dynamic stretching and light aerobic exercises before engaging in physical activities.
  • Gradually increase training intensity and volume to allow muscles and tendons to adapt safely.
  • Incorporate regular hamstring and lower body strengthening exercises to build muscle strength and joint support.
  • Maintain flexibility through regular stretching to reduce the risk of muscle strains.
  • Focus on proper technique and form during exercises and sports activities to minimize the risk of injury.
  • Listen to your body and avoid overtraining or pushing through pain, as it can lead to injuries.
  • Wear appropriate footwear and gear that provides proper support and stability for your activities.
  • Cross-train and vary your workouts to prevent overuse injuries and target different muscle groups.
  • Stay hydrated and maintain a balanced diet to support overall muscle health and injury prevention.
  • Get enough rest and quality sleep to allow your body to recover and repair itself effectively.


In conclusion, healing a pulled hamstring in just two days may be a lofty goal, but with proactive measures, you can accelerate the recovery process. Immediate response with the R.I.C.E protocol, gentle stretching, and proper nutrition are crucial in the initial stages.

Gradual incorporation of strengthening exercises and support from healthcare professionals further aids the healing process. Remember, while complete healing may take longer, taking these expert-backed steps will set you on the right path to a faster recovery, ensuring a safer return to your active lifestyle.


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