Your hamstrings are a collection of tendons crucial for most movements in your legs. Responsible for helping your leg to move properly while walking, running, jumping and more. After exercising, you may feel sore and wonder, why are my hamstrings so tight?! If it's a common issue for you, here are some tips.
Most of us are familiar with the sensation of tight hamstrings, the tension at the back of your thigh that makes it hard to walk properly and often spreads into lower back pain. While it’s tempting to just push through and hope that it goes away if you keep on exercising. These muscles are extremely important, so it is vital to properly stretch and take care of them.
While there are a wide range of reasons why hamstrings may get tight, below are the two main causes along with two remedies to help you recover and reduce the risk of it happening again.
Poor posture and tight hamstrings
Posture is often misunderstood as it not just about how you stand and sit, but how you walk, run, jump and more. Sitting posture is one of the most important when it comes to hamstring health.
Here are a few posture tips which will relieve hamstring tightness after sitting for extended periods of time at a desk, in a car or on the couch (we don’t judge, everyone loves a Netflix binge!).
- Move from your chair to stretch and walk around every 30-60 minutes. It is ideal to do a smaller number of stretches frequently, rather than one big stretch.
- Make sure you go for a walk during a lunch break.
- Ensure your back is supported properly while sitting. Read more on this here: How bad posture affects your health.
Being mindful of your posture is especially important for those who are seated for more than 8 hours as the strain on your hamstring is greatly increased.
If it’s unavoidable to stay seated for such periods, it’s helpful to focus on some rigorous stretches outside of those times, targeting your hips, glutes and thighs to keep everything in shape and moving.
Previous injuries could be the reason why hamstrings are tight
Let’s be honest, a lot of us have hurt ourselves while playing sport, and have ignored the injury - pushing through despite the pain. Most athletes, professional and amateur, have had some kind of injury to their hamstring, ranging from a mild strain that needed to be stretched out to a tear that still causes trouble years later.
As much as it’s important to rest and allow the muscles to heal, often we want to get back into exercising and doing the things we love. The below methods for recovery and rehabilitation can help reduce any tightness of the muscles.
- Compression and bracing of the muscles: wearing an upper leg compression sleeve, or a thigh brace, will assist when recovering from hamstring injuries. Even one that’s years old will benefit from these supports and reduce hamstring tightness. Using medical-grade compression is shown to be the most effective.
- Stretching and strengthening: through targeted exercise and physiotherapy for relief both immediately, and long term. Specific areas to focus on are the glutes, quads, hips/pelvis and of course the hamstrings themselves. Box jumps are a great way to strengthen the lower legs.
For more exercises to help with strengthening and recovery after exercise, visit the Bauerfeind YouTube channel.
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Bauerfeind products are developed at our innovation and manufacturing facility in Zeulenroda, Germany. Based on years of scientific research, our award-winning braces and support garments are highly recommended by medical professionals and athletes worldwide.