Sore hamstrings are common, especially if you're an avid runner or cyclist. The hamstrings are three muscles in the back of the thighs that help with knee flexion and hip extension.
These muscles can get tight due to overuse, improper stretching, or imbalance between other muscles in the body.
What Causes Sore Hamstrings?
Hamstring injuries can be caused by many reasons, including strenuous activity, overuse, muscle tightness, and weakness. They can also be traced back to poor posture.
One of the most common causes of sore hamstrings is delayed onset muscle soreness. If you've ever done a workout and not felt any pain or soreness till several days later, you experienced DOMS.
The soreness you feel after a tough workout is the result of microtears in the muscle tissue. When you challenge yourself with a new workout, the body responds by repairing those tears so that you’re better prepared for the workout the next time.
How to Treat Painful Hamstrings
To treat sore hamstrings, you should:
- Take a break from the activity that caused your muscles to become tight.
- Massage the area with ice or hot packs (no more than 15 minutes of either action).
- Stretch your hamstrings by lying on your back, bending one knee, and placing a towel or strap around it.
- Lift up till you feel a stretch in your hamstring, and hold for 30 seconds before switching sides.
- Do that two times per day for the best results; try holding onto something sturdy to assist you in getting into position, if necessary.
- You can also do that while sitting on the floor with both legs stretched out in front of you and simultaneously bending each foot toward the knee till they touch (but don't stretch too far).
- Hold for 30 seconds, and repeat after a minute or so. There will be less tension as more time passes than if you do it immediately.
Remedy sore hamstrings at home with right tools, stretches, and tips
Let's begin by taking a look at some of the ways you can treat sore hamstrings at home.
1) It's important to stretch the hamstrings thoroughly. You can do that by lying on your back with one foot flat on the floor and the other raised straight up towards the ceiling till you feel a stretch in that muscle. Hold the position for 30 seconds to a minute, and repeat three times per day, if needed.
2) Invest in an ergonomic foam roller for use after workouts or when you're feeling particularly sore from intense activity; rollers come in varying sizes, so find one that suits your needs best.
Lie down with the foam roller under one leg at about hip height, and roll back and forth over it 10-20 times before moving onto another section of the muscle group (i.e., arms/shoulders).
Repeat till all areas have been addressed appropriately. We recommend doing that once per day if possible, but twice per week is sufficient if scheduling allows less frequent usage of these tools, as they work wonders when used regularly.
If you're experiencing sore hamstrings after exercise, the best thing to do would be to make sure you're properly warming up before working out. When soreness occurs during or after a workout, stretching is recommended to help relieve pain and prevent more injury.