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Why are my hamstrings so tight?

There are various reasons why hamstrings can feel tight or are just tight. Below we will discuss reasons why and how you change that.

  1. Previous hamstring strain:
    • Having a previous hamstring strain will limit the actual length and property of the hamstring muscle itself. If not rehabbed properly scar tissue can shorten the muscle as well as lose its elastic property leading to a shorter and tighter hamstring.
  2. Pelvis Alignment
    • When you look at the anatomy of the hamstring, it’s origin and insertion is on the ischial tuberosity and Tibia/Fibula/Femur respectively. If the pelvis is in an anterior pelvic tight, it puts stretch on the hamstring which can lead to a feeling of tightness.
  3. Neural Tension
    • Every skeletal muscle in the body has nerve attachment. If for some reason your nervous system is keeping your hamstring tonic “on” at all times, it will prevent your hamstring from relaxing and allowing it to stretch.
  4. True Tight Hamstring
    • The actual length of your hamstring can also attribute to your tightness. Short hamstrings are usually a result of genetics or developed patterns over time such as sitting for extended periods of time.

It is important to understand that each individual hamstring is different and to truly know why a hamstring is tight, an orthopedic exam should be done by a medical practitioner. Remember, getting hamstring length is important but keeping hamstring length is even more important. There are strength and stability exercises that need to be prescribed to truly solve a hamstring tightness issue.

If you have any questions regarding the above material, contact one of the therapist at Lawrence Park Health.

Author: Khanh Vy

Registered Kinesiologist | Certified Athletic Therapist (R.KIN(CAT)) | Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (NSCA-CSCS)

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