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Can You Reach Your Toes?

stretching

To be able to reach your toes, you need the help of your hamstrings! While hamstring injuries can happen to an athlete during a practice or a game, it’s actually much more common for all of us to experience hamstring problems related to everyday activities. A hamstring injury will start to make you feel stiffness and soreness throughout your leg which will make things like walking, changing positions (getting in and out of the car or a chair, etc), and bending much more difficult.

The hamstring muscle can be quite temperamental when we don’t give it enough attention. Hamstring problems can include:

  • Lack of flexibility (Can you reach your toes?)
  • Lack of strength
  • Poor endurance

When an individual neglects the muscles in the back of the thigh, these deficits can cause cramping when we roll in bed and get up in the morning, can contribute to lower back problems and stiffness, or  can cause a strain or tear when playing a pick-up basketball game or during a track meet.

***When hamstring problems such as tightness or weakness, isn’t handled right away…  You may begin to have lower back pain, start to feel pain in your knees, and start to have discomfort in your calves which will further limit you from your daily activities such as walking the dog, going grocery shopping or enjoying your dance or workout class.*** 

Physical Therapy can help you handle your hamstring problems and prevent them from becoming a more serious issue.  Ignoring symptoms of tightness, weakness, and pain for the hamstring is never a good idea.  Listen to the warning signs as mentioned above that your body has a muscle imbalance that needs to be addressed.

Something as seemingly minor as hamstring tightness, when not handled right away, has a trickle down and up effect on the body and can start making simple tasks painful and difficult.  All of these hamstring issues that are not addressed immediately or that are chronic will definitely cause more serious issues such as:

  • Back problems that will eventually involve the disc and you will experience nerve problems.
  • Chronic knee problems ultimately leading to arthritis in the knees.

Think about the everyday task of walking:

  • When you take a step, the hamstring needs to stretch out to allow you to take a step.
  • It must immediately switch over to being a shock absorber and absorb the impact when your heel strikes the ground.
  • When that hamstring is weak or not conditioned correctly, it will have a difficult time creating force to propel or pull you through the step.

How do I know if I have a hamstring problem?

  • You experience tightness or pain in the back of the thigh when trying to stretch the leg or touch your toes.
  • There is an unusual amount of soreness with jumping into a strengthening program at the gym. Chances are your hamstring muscles are poorly conditioned and are too weak to start with the heavier weight lifting exercises.
  • You feel a straining sensation or sharp pain when running or sprinting.

Many of these symptoms are exacerbated by a sedentary lifestyle; or an overuse situation with the more active population.

CALL Loudoun Sports Therapy TODAY at 703-450-4300.  Our Physical Therapists will develop an individualized treatment plan specifically for you.

CLICK HERE for a simple hamstring stretch.

 

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