The Hamstring muscle that runs on the back of your thigh helps in knee bending and works closely with the glute muscles to extend the hip. Tight Hamstrings can result from a variety of reasons, ranging from lack of physical activity, genetically or naturally short hams, overworked hamstrings, weak core muscles, weak glutes, weak hamstrings itself, or tight hip flexors to a previous hamstring injury.
- Tight Hamstrings leads to–
- Poor posture from altered lower spine and pelvis biomechanics leads to hip, knee, and ankle pain.
- Increase the risk of injury like a hamstring strain.
- Low back pain due to an increase in the spinal load.
- Sacroiliac joint pain.
- The too-tight hamstring can make walking and standing uncomfortable.
2. How to check if you have Tight Hamstrings?– Lie down on your back and raise one leg straight. Check if you can lift to a 70-80° angle without bending your knee. The other way is that in a long sitting position, with knees extended in front of you, try to touch your toes. If you are unable to do this, it implies your hamstrings are tight. These are simple tests, which can be done at home. A more detailed assessment needs to be done by your physical therapist.
3. Ways to stretch tight Hamstrings–
- Lying Hamstring Stretch using a band– Lie down on the floor and put a resistance band under the ball of your foot. Hold the ends of the band in your hands. Now, lift your leg with knees extended and pull your toes with a resistance band until you feel a stretch. Hold for 15-30 seconds and do three reps.
- Hamstring Stretch in sitting– Sit on the floor with one leg out straight. Bend your other leg at the knee such that the sole of your foot rests against the inner thigh of the other extended leg. Pull your toes towards you. Now reach forward to touch the toes of your outstretched leg by bending at the hips. Try to keep your back straight. Hold for 15-30 seconds and do three reps on each side.
- Standing Hamstring Stretch– Stand upright and place one leg in front of the other with the foot flexed and the heel pushing into the ground such that the toes are pointing up. Keep your front leg knee straight and bend the knee of the back leg slightly. Reach forward by bending at hips and keeping the back straight. Place your hands on the knee of the front leg and hold the stretch for 15-30seconds. Repeat three times.
- Wall Hamstring Stretch-Lie down on your back with your legs straight up against the wall. Try to keep your hips as close to the wall as possible. Pull your feet towards you. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds and do three reps.
These stretches will help in improving the flexibility of the hamstring muscle. Along with the stretching, strengthening of the hamstrings is also crucial. Massaging the muscle along its length also helps. Try to avoid prolonged periods of sitting.
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