There’s a case to be made for the importance of every muscle in your body, but the group of muscles that are located at the back of your thigh — your hamstrings — play a key role in your mobility. If you enjoy an active lifestyle, healthy hamstrings are a must, which is why injury prevention is key.
At Genesis Regenerative Sports and Aesthetic Medicine, our experienced team of musculoskeletal experts wants to ensure that our patients can enjoy a life free from a debilitating injury. As part of our efforts, we believe that preventive practices are key, which is why we’ve pulled together the following five tips to safeguard your hamstrings.
Hamstring anatomy 101
Your hamstring muscles are located at the back of your thighs and are made up of three muscles:
- Biceps femoris
These muscles extend from your pelvis down, traverse your knees, and end in your lower legs.
When it comes to movement, your hamstrings power your ability to extend your legs and bend your knees.
Hamstring injuries can be divided into three categories:
- A pull
- A partial tear
- A complete tear
These injuries usually occur when you overload the muscles or stretch them beyond their capacity.
Five tips for preventing hamstring injuries
To prevent injury to your hamstrings, here are five tips that will keep you in good stead:
1. Stretch it out
One of the primary reasons hamstrings succumb to injury is because they’re tight, which is why we recommend a good stretching regimen, especially before and after you engage in activity. You can start by sitting on the ground with your legs straight out in front of you and reaching for your toes. You can also perform this exercise while standing — you simply reach down and touch your toes and hold. For more hamstring exercises, click here.
Strengthening muscles is always a great way to prevent injury, but this can be tricky with your hamstrings. The front of your thighs contain your quadriceps, which are the dominant muscle group in your legs, and they tend to engage every time you use your legs. To isolate and strengthen your hamstrings, we suggest exercises like glute bridges and hip thrusts, which are included in this comprehensive hamstring workout.
3. Rest well
Another common driver of hamstring injuries is muscle fatigue. If you’ve spent the day chasing a soccer ball around, give your hamstrings a break before heading out to the field again. Of course, this same tip can apply to all of your muscle groups.
4. Know the signs
If your hamstring muscles start to feel achy, heed this warning and don’t push them. Your body does a great job of letting you know when you’re pushing things too far, so you just need to hear the call.
5. Caution for younger patients
When an adolescent goes through a growth spurt, their bones often grow first, leaving their muscles to catch up. This is especially true of hamstrings, so be mindful of checking with your child to see if any problems develop.
Should injury occur
If you injure your hamstring, we encourage you to come see us straight away. We offer a wide range of solutions that will get you back to pain-free movement as quickly as possible, including:
- Bone marrow aspirate concentrate (BMAC) stem cell injections
- Lipogems® fat stem cell injections
- Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections
- Physical therapy
To learn more about hamstring injury prevention, please contact our office in Westfield, New Jersey, to set up an appointment.