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Pain When Touching Our Toes can Indicate a Hamstring Problem

Our Hamstring Muscles are the reason behind our ability or inability, to touch our toes. The hamstring, is the muscle that runs from deep in the buttock to the back of the knee. This muscle primarily bends the knee and extends the hip backwards, and is very important with walking and running.

Some common hamstring problems include:

  • Lack of flexibility
  • Lack of strength
  • Poor endurance

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

Symptoms of a Hamstring Injury

  • Tightness or pain in the back of the thigh when trying to stretch the leg or touch your toes. 
  • 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.
  • A straining sensation or sharp pain with running and sprinting are also indicators of a hamstring problem. 

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

Hamstring Problems and Athletes

Hamstring problems are quite prevalent in the athletic population. Endurance and strength training is also typically left out for the hamstring. It isn’t considered one of the “pretty” beach muscles and tends to get neglected! Even if the hamstring is flexible, it may cause problems of recurring strains and tears if it isn’t strong enough for the demands of an athletic body.

Athletes tend to get so excited about getting into skill training and competing for starting positions that they don’t build an active warm up into their routine. 

Warming up and active stretching for the hamstrings, (and all muscles, for that matter) prepare your muscles for explosive movements and repetitive changes in running speed. These warm ups are also crucial to avoid overloading a “cold” muscle.

What to do About a Hamstring Problem

Ignoring symptoms of tightness, weakness, and pain for the hamstring will never be the solution. Take these presentations as warning signs that your body has a muscle imbalance that needs to be addressed. Here at Loudoun Sports Therapy Center we commonly treat hamstring problems, and would be more than happy to evaluate, diagnose, and create a plan of care to address your symptoms. 

By: Ashley Border, DPT

Call Loudoun Sports Therapy Center TODAY at 703-450-4300 to start living pain free again!

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