Hamstring syndrome occurs when you pinch a sciatic nerve that attaches to your hamstrings, usually in the hip area. The nerve may receive pressure from tissues or from a bone. The ailment isn't common, but you're at greater risk if you play a sport that involves jumping, sprinting, hurdling or kicking. You may feel pain anywhere in the hamstring area, even when you’re seated. You may also experience numbness in your lower leg or your foot. See your doctor if you have persistent hamstring pain and then follow your doctor or therapist’s instructions when recovering from a problem such as hamstring syndrome.
Causes of Hamstring Syndrome
Among the potential causes of hamstring syndrome is dislocated vertebrae, which can be caused by an injury. You're also at greater risk for hamstring syndrome if your hamstrings are weak or tight. The first step in preventing the ailment, therefore, is to warm up and stretch before any workout or athletic activity. Warm up with five to 10 minutes of light aerobic exercise. Also perform dynamic stretches, such as forward and backward straight-leg swings.
If you don’t have a structural abnormality, you may be able to prevent hamstring syndrome. Florida's Memorial Healthcare System recommends that you maintain strong hamstrings to help avoid hamstring syndrome. Efficient hamstring exercises include stiff-leg deadlifts, lying leg curls with a cable machine and barbell squats performed with your feet spread wider than shoulder-width apart.
Do static stretches after workouts to improve your flexibility as another measure to prevent hamstring syndrome. From a standing position, for example, extend your leg forward and set your heel on a bench or a similar raised object. Lean forward slowly from the waist until you feel the stretch in the back of your thigh. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and then repeat it on the opposite leg.
If you’re diagnosed with hamstring syndrome, your health-care professional will likely prescribe a series of stretches to improve your flexibility and range of motion. In a typical hamstring stretch, you extend your leg, lock your knee and apply some type of resistance that stretches the muscles. You may also be asked to perform mobilization exercises to free the sciatic nerve from whatever is pinching the nerve. To start, sit on a raised surface, extend one leg forward and flex your ankle to try to release the nerve from its trap. Get specific instructions from your doctor or therapist. Be sure to follow those instructions to the letter.
- Caring Medical and Rehabilitation Services, S.C.: Treatment of Hamstring Muscle Syndrome
- Memorial Healthcare System: Hamstring Syndrome With Rehab
- British Journal of Sports Medicine: The Hamstring Syndrome in Endurance Athletes
- Cleveland Clinic: Dynamic Stretches
- Muscle & Strength: The Top 5 Exercises For Increasing Hamstrings Mass