Stretch Your Hip Flexors
Your hip flexors help with your overall stability and are important for explosive movements like jumping and sprinting. Hip flexors also help take stress off of your quads, which is important since excess stress on your quads means more stress on your knee.
How to stretch your hip flexors:
Foam Roller Hamstring Stretch
Starting position: Sit with a foam roller underneath your target thigh and the other leg bent up, foot in front of the roller. Lean back on your arms keeping a neutral spine.
Action: Using your arms, roll forwards and backwards so the roller runs from the hip to the thigh.
Repetition: Spend 2-3 minutes doing this, 2x daily, or before and after exercise
Note: The harder you push down through the roller, the greater the stretch
Lying Hamstring Stretch I
Repeat with your other leg. Then repeat this stretch with each leg two to three times total.
Don’t Miss: Removing Scar Tissue From Knee
How Can You Tell If You Have Tight Hamstrings
There are some tests that a chiropractor or physical therapist can perform to identify if you have tight hamstrings. The most well known is the 90/90 test. To complete this test lie on your back with both legs flat. Reach down and clasp your hands behind the thigh of one of your legs. Bring that leg up so that the angle of your hip is at 90 degrees. Then bring your foot up so that the angle of your knee is at 90 degrees. You then attempt to move your foot up so that your leg is in a straight line. The inability to get within 20-30 degrees at your knee implies tight hamstrings. This test is not perfect however and many other factors can contribute to the inability to straighten your leg including scar tissue and past injuries. There is another much simpler test of course. If you cant touch your toes while keeping your knees locked you probably have tight hamstrings. When performing this kind of stretch its important to make sure your stable and safe. We recommend doing it in a seated position. When performing this kind of hamstring stretch take note of where youre tightest. If your hamstrings feel fine but your lower back is hurting it might not be an issue with your hamstrings. Other signs that you have overly tight hamstrings include low back pain and stiffness, knee pain, and radiating pain in buttocks and back of leg . The latter could be caused by the sciatica nerve being pinched but is often related to tight hamstrings as well.
The Role Of The Lower Back
Any discussion about hamstring dysfunction is not complete until we include the lower back. Its not very well known, but almost all hamstring dysfunction is back-related. As is a tight sciatic nerve.
The origin of the Sciatic Nerve is towards the base of the lower back. Any dysfunction – stiffness, tightness, weakness, poor core muscle activation, poor posture has the potential to create dysfunction through the hamstrings and sciatic nerve by association.
So if you feel tightness at the back of the knee, youre really just noticing an expression of lower back dysfunction. And to improve this dysfunction we need to improve the low backs function.
Don’t Miss: How To Whiten Knee
Your Hamstrings Arent Tight
Most patients who complain of tight hamstrings actually have normal hamstring mobility. The people obsessed with loosening their hamstrings tend to be more flexible than those who dont know or dont care about their flexibility.
Try the 90-90 Hamstring Mobility Test to assess your hamstring flexibility:
Lay on your back and grab the back of your knee. Straighten your knee as far as possible. Is your knee straight? Have a friend take a picture from the side, or visualize the angle in a mirror.
If you can get the knee within 20-30 degrees of straight, your hamstrings arent tight . In this picture my knee is about 25 degrees from fully extended my hamstring mobility is normal.
If your shin is barely past parallel from the ground, you have some stretching to do!
Best Stretches For Tight Hamstrings Knee Pain
There are several exercises and stretches that you can do to help keep your hamstrings loose. It is a good idea to warm up your muscles before stretching. Try walking or doing other activities to keep your muscles warm. Never stretch when you are in pain or try to force a stretch. Breathe normally while doing stretching exercises. Try to incorporate hamstrings stretching into your routine at least two or three days each week. Stretching is one of the easiest ways to reduce pressure with a hamstrings. They can be made almost anywhere and require little or no equipment.
1. Lying hamstring stretch
Lie down, lift one straight leg straight and use your hands to pull your leg toward you, making sure your foot on the floor stays upright. Stretching of the hamstring should be done after exercising. Stretching the hamstring before running can stress tendons that cause injury
- Lie flat on the ground or on a mat and the legs are completely spread out.
- o straighten the right leg, hold the back of the right knee with both hands, pull the leg up toward the chest, and slowly
- stretch the knee until it feels like it is stretching.
- Hold the stretch for 10-30 seconds.
Lying hamstring stretch II
2. Hamstring Stretches While Standing
Standing straighten the hamstring
Perform a stretch while standing near a step, ladder, or face raised by following these steps:
3. Seated hamstring stretch
Sitting to straighten the hamstring
To straighten the hamstring while sitting, follow these steps:
Don’t Miss: How To Lighten Your Knees Overnight
Back Of Knee Pain: Bakers Cyst
If you have had a recent injury, or chronic knee pain, and you feel there is a ball behind your knee you may have a Bakers cyst.
A Bakers cyst is a fluid filled pouch that forms at the back of the knee secondary to injury to the knee joint or soft tissue. The increase in fluid produced by the knee will create the cyst which takes up space behind the knee and limits your ability to bend the knee, squat, and stand.
A Bakers cyst is commonly treated with conservative measures such as icing, wrapping, and physical therapy to help improve range of motion and function. Occasionally, the fluid in the back of the need can be drained by aspiration although it is common for the fluid to return due to the underlying pathology at the knee causing the swelling in the first place.
Hip And Hamstring Tightness Solutions
Dr. McNally explains that stretching exercises act as the first line of treatment for hip flexor and hamstring tightness. You could start with gentle stretches that target these areas. He notes that there are a multitude of stretches that will help. The one that works best for the individual person is the one that they are comfortable doing so that they will repeat it enough to make a difference. He recommends warming up the muscles first to get the best results from the stretches.
An easy place to start is any kind of forward fold to stretch out the hamstrings. Stand up straight, or sit with your legs extended in front of you. Then, reach your fingers toward your toes . Dont bounce, but hold the position for a few seconds, then repeat five to 10 times.
For your hip flexors, high lunge, low lunge, or yogas Warrior I pose can all prove effective.
The Warrior I pose from yoga opens up the hip flexors at the front of your pelvis.
Then, if you are not seeing enough results from stretching on your own, you could progress to a guided stretching program with physical therapy. Dr. McNally explains, Stretching does not work for everyone, but it is the first step in the process and often the only one that is needed. He adds that surgery is reserved for cases that do not respond to supervised stretching.
In this situation, he would recommend:
Also Check: How To Get Rid Of Fat Around Knees
Pain In Your Quadriceps How Targeting Quad Trigger Points Can Help
A pain in the quad is, well, a big pain! After all, the Quadriceps muscle group is one of the largest muscle groups in the body. If you have a muscle tear or strain in this group of muscles, it can cause a log of leg pain and be very debilitating.
But you may be surprised that what you think you know about your quad pain is only half the story.
If you feel you have a quadricep injury or quadricep strain, or if youre experiencing persistent discomfort or chronic pain, learn more about how honing in on quad trigger points can help you avoid aches altogether, including joint pain.
Read Also: Is Mobic Good For Sciatica Pain
When To See Your Doctor
Make an appointment with your doctor if your hamstrings are often tight and painful. The Healthline FindCare tool can provide options in your area if you dont already have a doctor. Pain that doesnt go away may be a sign of injury.
Other symptoms that may signal an injury are:
- sudden, sharp pain
- bruising or discoloration
- muscle weakness
You may be able to treat a mild strain at home using RICE and over-the-counter pain relievers. If you cant take more than four steps without feeling tremendous pain, make an appointment to see your doctor. Severe strains may involve a complete tearing of the muscle. Some may even require surgery.
Dont let tight hamstrings slow you down. With a little tender loving care and some regular stretching, you can keep your muscles loose and ready for action.
Try to incorporate different stretches into your routine about three times each week. Ease into stretches gently.
If you feel pain or have other concerns, dont hesitate to make an appointment with your doctor.
Don’t Miss: How To Whiten Knees And Elbows
What Treatments To Consider For Tight Hamstrings
Tight hamstrings are usually not a cause for concern but left unchecked, they can absolutely wreck your body posture and alignment.
We should always start with a strong foundation of maintaining good posture throughout the day, working on our flexibility and mobility and strengthening the muscles that support our body.
Strengthen The Posterior Chain
The posterior chain is the most influential muscle group in the body.
The posterior chain is quite simply the backside of the body including part of our core musculature.
Its primary muscles include the lower back, glutes, hamstrings and the calves. Other muscles include the trapezius, posterior deltoids and latissimus dorsi, transvere abdominus and diaphragm.
All these muscles play an essential role in our ability to move and stabilize, and therefore not only affect our day to day movements but also our athletic performance.
Therefore, to truly overcome your tight hamstrings, youd want to make sure that you are activating and strengthening these muscles.
Some of the best exercises to maintain the health of these muscles include:
Weighted or Body Weight SquatsDeadliftsWeighted or Body Weight LungesExtension based exercisesHip Thrusters
Fix Your Posture & Alignment
Because the hamstrings attach to the top of the back of the pelvis when sitting, sitting itself contributes to tightness. The problem isnt necessarily the inactivity, but a faulty position that we place our body in.
True Tightness or Shortened Muscles
Pain Swelling And Knee Stiffness
First lets talk about pain: Its the bodys way of preventing you from making an injury worse. Since pain may limit movement, it can cause stiffness in the knees, as can any ongoing injury.
Knees become swollen when excess fluid builds up inside the knee due to an injury, overuse, or medical condition. This can cause sensations of tightness as well as pain. Swelling may be subtle, so you may not always notice it unless its a severe injury. Since the swelling may not be visible, you may feel this as stiffness in the knee.
Any type of swelling will cause limited movement since theres less space in the knee. Irritation, internal bleeding, and injuries in the knee can lead to fluid buildup. Arthritis, gout, and tumors or cysts are conditions that can also cause swelling.
Pain and swelling are two mechanisms your body uses to protect itself. Together they can lead to stiffness in your knee. Next, lets look at possible causes.
Don’t Miss: Why Does My Knee Stiffen Up After Sitting
Could Your Tight Hips And Hamstrings Be Making Your Back Hurt Find Out How It Happens And How To Loosen Up
When you have back pain, it makes sense to focus your treatment on your back, just as you would focus on your legs if your legs hurt. But you need to remember that your body is a connected whole, more than just the sum of its parts. Tight hips and hamstrings can contribute to back pain, and targeting those areas could help address the pain in your back.
Could your tight hips and hamstrings be causing your back pain?
Hamstrings: A Brief Overview
Your hamstrings are a group of three muscles located on the back of the leg the semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and the biceps femoris muscles. They run from the top of your thigh to your knee joint and contribute to posture, pelvic positioning, knee support, and leg movement.
Every action of the muscles in the front of your leg creates an opposite reaction in the hamstrings. These two groups of muscles work in unison to extend and contract, allowing you to bend your knees, straighten your hips, and rotate your legs. When the quadricep-hamstring strength ratio is unbalanced, individuals may experience low-back pain and an increased risk of hamstring strains or tears.
You May Like: Do Compression Sleeves Help With Knee Pain
Could One Of These 4 Things Be Causing Your Knee Pain
1. Tight Hamstrings
Can you touch your toes? No? Well, neither can most people. In todays chair-bound society, 3 things are certain 1. You wish youd bought shares in Google, 2. You never seem to get as many Facebook likes as your friends do, and 3. Unless you stretch regularly, you have tight hamstrings.
Patello-femoral pain syndrome, an extremely common knee condition responsible for approximately 30% of presentations to sport injury clinics, is known to be linked to tight hamstrings. Tightness in the rear compartment of your leg , creates increased strain in the patello-femoral joint which can result in irritation of the joint.
2. Poor hip biomechanics
There are lots of different things that could lead to faulty hip biomechanics: weak gluteal and abdominnal muscles, tight calves, increased or reduced mobility at the ankle joint, among many other things. If your hips arent behaving correctly when you are standing, walking, running, or jumping , they can cause imbalances at your knee joints. This can result in patello-femoral conditions, arthritis, Osgood-Schlatters disease, patella or quadriceps tendinopathies, and more.
4. Your spine
Well there we have it. There are lots of reasons why your knee could be hurting, and weve just mentioned a few of the more common ones. This list is by no means exhaustive, so make an appointment to see your LifeForce physio to begin getting on top of that knee pain!
Hips Hamstrings And Lower Back Pain
Thomas A. McNally, MD, orthopedic surgeon and Medical Director at the Chicago Spine Center at Weiss Memorial Hospital in Chicago, says, The tightness in the hip flexors and hamstrings can alter the alignment of your pelvis this affects the way your spine lines up and can cause low back pain.
Youll find the hip flexors, a group of muscles, around the front of the hips. They go into effect as you move your leg and knee in an upward motion. The hamstrings are muscles in the backs of the thighs that help to flex the knees and extend the hips.
From the perspective of a doctor of physical therapy, Tony Matoska, PT, DPT, CMPT, Clinic Manager for Athletico Muskego, WI and Wisconsin Spine Specialty Program Regional Coordinator for Athletico, notes that tight hips and hamstrings are more likely to affect your lower back than your middle or upper back .
In addition to muscle tightness in the hips, Matoska notes that stiff hip joints can lead to lower back pain. A lack of rotational motion and ability to flex or extend your hip forwards or backwards can affect your walking, running, swinging, and twisting motions and increase mechanical strain on your lower back.
As for hamstring tightness, he explains that this can actually be a side effect of lower back pain. Pelvic position, muscle guarding, and weakness can contribute to your hamstrings feeling tight and be a result of someone’s back pain, he says.
You May Like: Can Knee Cartilage Be Rebuilt
When The Front Of The Knee Hurts
Normally, the kneecap moves up and down the thigh bone during running. People may feel pain in the kneecap because thigh muscles are weak or the feet roll in too much . As a result, the kneecap rubs abnormally against the thigh bone, causing increased wear and tear.
Pain in the front of the knee may be caused by
A kneecap located too high or too low in the front of the knee joint
Off-center insertion of the muscles around the knee cap
Tight, shortened hamstring muscles
Weak thigh muscleswhich normally help stabilize the knee