Each of the three posterior muscle of the thigh is called hamstring. They play an important role in all types of leg movements such as walking, jumping and running. Some of the movements of the trunk are also controlled by these muscles. Diabetics who cannot keep their blood sugar level under control have a higher risk of developing complications of the hamstring.
Elevated blood sugar level for a prolonged period damages the blood vessels and the nerves in the legs, resulting in poor circulation and reduced sensation in the legs. All these changes increase the risk of injuries to the hamstring. Common diabetes related problems of the hamstring include hamstring tendinopathy, hamstring tendonitis or hamstring tendinosis.
Ways to Treat Diabetic Hamstring Complications
Apply Ice Pack
Applying ice or cold pack to the affected area of the leg provides fast relief from inflammation and pain. Remember to wrap the ice in a cloth before applying it to the injured hamstring. Applying ice directly to the skin increases the risk of hypothermia.
Rest, Compression and Elevation
One of the most effective natural treatments for hamstring injury is resting the injured leg to speed up the healing. Compressing the affected area with crepe, cohesive or stretchy bandage, also known as tapping and strapping, helps to alleviate the swelling. Stabilizing the affected area, reducing pressure on the injured hamstring and providing support are the objectives of tapping and strapping. Elevating the injured leg also helps to reduce the swelling.
Non-Steroidal Antiinflammatory Medications (NSAIDs)
NSAIDs are widely used for treating hamstring pain and inflammation. These drugs work by suppressing activities of COX enzymes that stimulate production of inflammatory substances called prostaglandins. NSAIDs commonly used for treating hamstring pain include ibuprofen, aspirin, diclofenac, naproxen and indomethacin.
Although NSAIDs are considered safe for diabetics, some of these drugs may change your blood sugar level. It is therefore, advisable to monitor your blood sugar level while taking NSAIDs. These pain relief medications are unsuitable for diabetics with impaired kidney function. They increase the risk of kidney damage. As dehydration increases the risk of kidney disorders, remember to drink plenty of water while you are on NSAIDs.
Cortisone injection is administered directly into the painful hamstring. This is often the most effective option for reducing pain and inflammation that do not respond to pain relief medications. Cortisone acts like the cortisol hormone produced by the adrenal glands. By suppressing the immune system, it reduces production of immune substances that trigger inflammation and causes pain.
Unlike oral corticosteroid drugs, cortisone injections cause minimal side effects. They work rapidly, reducing pain within a short time. However, diabetics should take appropriate precautions while taking cortisone injections. Cortisone tends to boost the blood sugar level. Therefore, appropriate steps should be taken to keep the blood sugar level under control by changing in the dosage of the diabetes medication.
Physiotherapy is beneficial for diabetics with hamstring complications. Strengthening and stretching the muscles help to improve the functioning of the affected muscles. Moreover, physiotherapy improves blood circulation in the legs of diabetics.