A lot of patients that come into my office have tight hamstrings and think it is normal to feel a pull in the back of their legs when bending forward. This is not normal. Sure, there may not be any problems right now but in time, the muscle can cause several dysfunctions. Tears, low back and sciatic pain (because the muscle attaches to the lower portion of the hips), and pain or tears in the back of the knee may occur. The hamstring muscle is really three muscles. The semitendinosis, semimembranosis and biceps femoris.
What causes hamstring tightness?
Sure, genetics can play a part but in most cases it is caused by improper or not enough stretching. There are easy stretches that only take about 6-10 minutes and can prevent tears and problems in the future. Stretching before and after an athletic event helps in maintaining a flexible muscle so it is recommended to do so every time you engage in a sport. Here is a common stretch that is easy to do.
- Sit on the floor with one leg straight and the other bent with the foot pressing against the inner portion of the outstretched leg
- Keep your back straight as you lean forward through the hips to one the straight leg side
- Hold (don’t bounce) for 25 to 30 seconds
- Switch sides
Doing these exercises will prevent injuries and keep you low back loose preventing injuries.