Hamstring stretches

Jan 11th, 2014

Daniel A asked The Guru for the following Physiotherapy Advice:

I have been given stretches to carry out for my Hamstrings. This one involves me placing my foot on a chair and pulling the toes towards me. Whilst doing this, I am supposed to bend forwards at the waist. The issue, however, is that the tendon behind my hamstring than connects to the back of the knee causes pain whilst stretching. At first I ignored it, but now I am taking it serious seeing as soon as I lift my leg on a chair, it causes pain. The real issue is that the pain goes on for minutes after the stretch and that I feel no stretch at all due to the pain. Now when I attempt to do other variants of the stretch e.g. hamstring sweeps, the tendon again causes pain.

I need some advice. Thank You.

Jan 11th, 2014

The Guru Responded:


Now, are you sure it’s your hammy rather than your sciatic nerve mimicking your hammy?

Simplest way to find out which one is the pain generator is to do the same stretch, and at the point where you go “ow” – keeping exactly the same position, what happens when you put your chin on your chest, or look up to the sky. If there is any difference (better or worse) then there may be a neural (sciatic nerve) involvement. Don’t even be tempted to stretch this!

A better way to stretch your hammy is sit on the dining table, and sit up tall, keeping your back locked straight. Now slowly straighten you knee and stop at the first bit of resistance, and hold it here.

If this is still painful, then I think you’ve over cooked your stretching and leave it well alone for the next 10 days….

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