Sports massage or soft tissue massage is important for recovering from pulled hamstrings as well as preventing injury. Here we explain how sports massage is applied to the hamstrings for recovery and injury prevention.
The following is for information purposes. We always recommend seeking professional advice before attempting and self-treatment.
Before beginning massage therapy your therapist will check for contraindications. These are conditions where massage is not suitable and may cause further injury.
When can I begin sports massage?
Sports Massage or soft tissue massage or soft tissue massage can be used during the subacute this stage of hamstring rehabilitation, but the pressure must be very light and superficial, to begin with. Later, as your injury heals techniques can become gradually get deeper as the days/weeks pass.
Hamstring massage (play video)
Why is massage beneficial?
Massage can help to break down any scar tissue that has formed and can help to relax tight muscles and stimulate blood flow to the area and all of this aids the healing process and may increase flexibility.
Light massage can be applied daily initially but later on, as the techniques become deeper, more recovery time between sessions may be required.
Massage contraindications are injuries and conditions where using massage could be harmful or dangerous. The following may be relevant to hamstring strains.
Open wounds – Any cuts, lacerations, or grazes. You should wait until the scar has properly formed which is usually between one and two weeks.
Muscle ruptures (acute stage) – In the acute stage, soft tissue may still be bleeding. Massage will increase bleeding and tissue damage and prolong recovery. After the initial 48 to 72 hours, massage may be possible but it will depend on the extent of the injury.
Tendon ruptures – The above also applies to tendon injuries. Complete ruptures are contraindications for massage and need surgery, not massage.
Contusions – These are impact injuries causing bleeding within the muscle. Massage to a contusion too soon after the injury may cause further damage and may lead to Myositis Ossificans (bone growth within the muscle).
Burns, Chilblains and Broken bones – Massaging all of these will hurt and cause damage. Don’t do it.
Myositis ossificans – A bad contusion or muscle rupture may begin to calcify (grow bone). Massage will make the damage worse.
Other conditions include:
- Periostitis – This is inflammation of the sheath that surrounds the bone.
- Rheumatoid arthritis and gout.
Read more on massage contraindications.
We recommend the following products to help treat Hamstring strains:
Cold Therapy Compression Wrap
Cold therapy is important for reducing pain and swelling. A reusable gel pack can be used for both hot and cold and an elastic sleeve enables easy application and compression.
Supports and protects your muscle while it is headling as well as helping to reduce pain and swelling. Retains heat later in the rehabilitation process.
A foam roller is an excellent piece of kit which can be used in place of massage to treat muscle injuries. They are also excellent when use regularly as part of your warm up.
Resistance bands are important for most sports rehabilitation and enable you to exercise any muscle from the comfort of your own home.
Hamstring strain Rehabilitation Program
Our step by step rehabilitation program takes you from initial injury to full fitness.