Running with tight hamstrings can lead to a host of other problems, ranging from groin pulls to low back pain. Hamstrings are composed of three muscles in the back of each of your thighs. The muscles are responsible for sitting, standing and moving. The muscles are strong and when you develop a deep ache, whether during or after a run, the pain can be debilitating.
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The hamstring muscle group primarily serves to bend your knee and bring your leg backward when you're running. Deep, severe hamstring pain from a strain is very common among sprinters, according to the Sports Injury Clinic. Mobility is restricted immensely when you pull a hamstring muscle. You'll notice swelling on the back of your thigh, and you'll probably start limping. Get treatment quickly when you pull a hamstring to avoid a tear. Rest and apply ice to the sore area. Begin stretching and strengthening exercises as soon as the swelling subsides.
Leg cramps are common to all runners at some point in time, especially during periods when you're training intensely. Cramps usually are the result of dehydration when you don't drink enough water or from low levels of potassium, salt and electrolytes. Leg cramps can damage the muscles by tearing the fibers when they spasm. Gentle sports massage can help to loosen up the tightness and ease the cramping in your hamstrings. Drink sports drinks fortified with electrolytes to prevent cramps.
When a nerve gets pinched between vertebrae in your back, the pain radiates down your leg and can create deep aching in your hamstrings. A slipped disc, muscle tension and bone degeneration can lead to the compression. The pain may actually worsen after your run when you sit down. You may experience sudden sharp pains when you stand up or bend over. Bed rest, anti-inflammatory medication and heat therapy can relieve the pain in the back of your thigh and in your lower back. Severe damage may require back surgery.
You may have been born with short hamstring muscles that tear easily when you run. They eventually limit your ability to run and affect your posture. Hamstrings also tighten up if you don’t stretch sufficiently before and after running or when you don’t warm up your muscles. Persistent tight hamstrings not only cause you deep aching in your thigh muscles, but also lead to lower back problems and sciatica. Proper stretching and massage can relieve tight hamstrings that could lead to better running performance and reduced pain.