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Periodically, we all experience a hamstring issue, such as a pulled, ripped or torn hamstring. In relation to my current issue (a pulled hamstring in the left leg), I would like to continue practicing my martial art (Taekwondo) while still trying to heal the damage, but this often proves to be easier said than done. What are the recommended approaches for dealing with an injured hamstring while still continuing to practice a martial art?

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Please take any health advise on the internet with a bucket load of salt. Go see a medical professional instead! –  Sardathrion May 12 at 8:01

3 Answers 3

up vote 10 down vote accepted

Don't.

Stop practicing and let it heal. What you should do is rehab work. Stretches, slow (VERY SLOW) movements exercising the range of motion of various muscle groups.

[Edit - I know a girl who injured something in her hip, I don't know what, and she won't let it heal. She reinjures herself constantly.]

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Definitely don't stress that leg at all. You can even injure yourself further (and decrease performance) with a bad muscle. –  Matt Chan Mar 22 '12 at 3:14
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Don't stress it. Whenever I have an injury, any shock remotely close to it will aggravate the injury again. For example, I was leg-swept right above my knee when I had a sore lower back. The sweep was a bit harder than intended, but it aggravated my back (even though he hit me right above my knee). –  Pulsehead Mar 22 '12 at 14:04
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no other answers needed here. if you have an injury, let it heal. especially if it is a tear. –  Patricia Mar 22 '12 at 14:45
  1. Let it heal. Stop doing things that hurt. Stop getting into situations where it will probably get re-injured.

    No, really.

    Remember that we generally feel better about halfway through the healing process. Our body is lying. Listen to your doctors and stay away from practice for the full period recommended.

  2. Strengthen and rehabilitate the affected areas. Re-evaluate your strength and mobility. (Yoga, weightlifting, and physical therapy are probably your best bets.)

  3. Reintroduce yourself to training at a reduced intensity.

  4. Ramp up to your original intensity, with your stronger and more mobile body.

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As everyone else is saying: don't train on it. Do other things - do crunches, do upper body exercises... don't train the hurt muscle. Rest, Ice, reduce swelling/inflammation if you have any.

After it's better (days, weeks, even...), slow stretches, strengthening to get it back up to full. If you can, consider some massage/bodywork to help it.

Now, here's the other part. "It's just a pulled muscle." Unless you have a medical professional confirm that, it might also be partial or micro tears of your tendons. And the problem is, tendons don't heal as well as muscle. So when you train on that, you risk a complete separation, which then means surgery and permanent danger of reinjury.

If you "pull a muscle", be kind to it. Unlike the movies, fighting through injuries doesn't make you tougher and better, what doesn't kill you doesn't make you stronger, just makes you more likely to get injured again, worse.

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