The Hamstring Muscles
The hamstrings are situated at the back of your thigh and are composed of three muscles; biceps femoris is the most central, with semimembranosus slightly more in the inside of the posterior thigh and lastly semitendinosus on the outside of the group. They all attach to the ischial tuberosity (the sitting bone) at the base of the pelvis and travel down across the knee and insert just behind it.
Most hamstring injuries have one thing in common… they all start with a tight muscle. The majority of us spend up to 9 hours a day sitting down and when we’re sitting down our hamstrings are in a shortened position and it doesn’t take too many average days for those muscles to get short and tight.
Having short hamstrings wouldn’t be terrible if their only action was to pull your lower leg toward your bottom. The trouble is they also do a much harder job. One of the main purposes of the hamstrings is to slow down the lower leg as we are swinging it through while walking or running. This means the muscle has to contract while it’s still lengthening. The human equivalent would be patting your head and rubbing your tummy at the same time. Not easy.
So, why am I telling you this? Because it’s when the hamstring is metaphorically patting its head and rubbing its stomach that the majority of hamstring injuries occur. The risk increases dramatically if the muscles aren’t flexible enough to cope with the lengthening and contracting process.
The moral of the story, especially if you’re a runner, is to have strong hamstrings but to also make sure they’re flexible enough to deal with the tension that is placed through them during dynamic activities.
Follow these links for some of my favourite stretches:
If your hamstrings need some attention then contact Harry or one of our other Osteopaths now!
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