Stop Stretching Your Tight Hamstrings

Stop Stretching Your Tight Hamstrings Barefoot Rehabilitation Clinic

28 Feb Stop Stretching Your Tight Hamstrings

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Tight hamstrings plague people. When you have tight hamstrings, you’ve had them for a really long time and it doesn’t seem to matter how much you stretch, your tight hamstrings never get more flexible.

If your hamstrings were just “tight,” your stretching interventions would’ve worked by now.

I’m going to share with you a little secret that will change your life when it comes to your tight hamstrings.

That secret is …

Your Hamstrings Aren’t Tight

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler. ~Albert Einstein

This is an occasion where “tight” hamstrings is too simple. If it were that simple, the tightness would’ve gone away by now.

“Tightness” is more complex than that.

Normal muscle tightness gets better within a 1-2 months of stretching. Heck, you don’t even need to stretch to get more flexible if this were the case. You’d only need to be doing fuller range of motion movements to get rid of that tightness.

What are fuller range of motion movements?

Squat ass-to-grass, lunge with your trailing leg’s butt cheek fully squeezed, press a barbell overhead, or hang from the pull-up bar. When I was learning to squat as low as possible, the Cossack Stretch (see below video) helped me gain range of motion I never had before. I didn’t even have a set, rep, or goal for doing the Cossack Stretch over the first few months I was CrossFitting.

Just doing it, without any structure, made me more flexible rather quickly.

Let’s agree, right now, that if you’ve been stretching more than a month, no matter how much you’ve been shotgunning, foam-rolling, lacrosse-balling, stretching on your own or having your friends try to turn you into a pretzel, that what you have been doing isn’t working.


Your tight hamstrings are a bit more complex than that.

Possible Problem #1: Your Sciatic Nerve is Tight

Go ahead and get your stretching friend right now. We’re going to do one part of the hamstring stretch test.

Have your friend lift your leg like they’re stretching your hamstring.

Then, when you’re feeling a good “stretch” in any location, have them push the ball of your foot down about 1″ (like in the image below), nothing more than that.


If the “stretch” in your hamstring got more intense when your toes were pushed down, you, my friend, have a sciatic nerve problem.

Even though it feels like your hamstring is tight, what you’re actually feeling is a hamstring contraction message sent by your brain to protect your sciatic nerve. Because nerves don’t like being pulled tight and they’ll protect themselves any way they can.

What You Need to Do: All we know is that your sciatic nerve is angry and fired up. The location where it is glued and stuck can be your low back, your butt, or your hamstrings. In order to figure out where, I recommend you find a reputable adhesion-removal provider to fix this.

If you live in North Jersey, Barefoot Rehab is the only practice certified in the area to find and fix adhesion. Call us at 862-205-4847.

You might be thinking:

Stretching at least allows me to continue doing what I’m doing. Why shouldn’t I stretch my hamstrings?

The short answer is, “You’re allowing your problems to grow bigger, under the radar.”

Tricking the nervous system only works in the short-term. That’s why the tightness you have that goes away with stretching and after workouts returns when you wake up the next morning.

Possible Problem #2:  Your Low Back is Injured and Your Hamstrings are Contracting, Which You Feel as “Tight”

Here’s a video (4:26 seconds long) of a patient of ours who was getting physical therapy for tight hamstrings when he came into our office and we diagnosed him correctly and proceeded to fix his hamstring pain in 6 treatments.

Tell your friend to go get his favorite pencil.

We’re about to do the most complex, most sophisticated, elaborate test for the low back that exists in the history of the world, the pencil test, aka, as it’s known in the yoga world, the Cat-Cow Test.

Have your friend put the pencil right on the midline of your low back.

If your friend sees a space under the pencil like there is under the 2″ mark on the pencil ruler below, it’s safe to assume your hamstrings are tight because your low back is functioning at 40% (or less) of its potential.


What You Need to Do: If that’s you, I hope that you had an acute low back injury in the last week or so. It’s possible this range of motion will get better all on it’s own.

If you haven’t had a low back injury recently, then you need to find a reputable adhesion-removal provider to fix this. You could try doing 1,000 repetitions of the cat-cow per day, but I’ve never seen someone gain this range of motion back in the low back with stretching.

Possible Problem #3: The Adhesion in Your Hamstrings Is Tight

If you passed problems #1 and #2, then by default, you probably fall into this category.

I assume you did the hamstring stretch test and the pencil test and you passed both according to the standards we set in this post.


Still, you probably have been stretching for more than 1-2 months without a permanent improvement.

You don’t have a sciatic nerve issue. You don’t have a low back issue.

Then, what is it?

The most straight-forward and easiest problem for a reputable adhesion-removal provider to fix is adhesion in your hamstrings.

Check out this bodybuilder. The good thing about bodybuilders is that it’s easy to see the outline of their muscles.


There are three individual muscles that make up the hamstrings. Two make up the inside hamstrings (the blue triangle below), and one makes up the the outside hamstring muscle (the green triangle).

You can probably envision, in your mind’s eyes, the need for the blue and green hamstring muscles to slide and contract past each other. When adhesion (the red squiggles) glues the muscles together, the hamstrings can’t slide and contract past one another.


When you stretch, you lengthen all of the healthy parts of the muscle instead of the precise location (the adhesion) that needs to be stretched.

What You Need to Do: The good thing about adhesion in the hamstring is that your risk of injury is lower than if you had problems #1 and #2 and you don’t want to do anything about it. The bad news is that the adhesion isn’t going anywhere unless you  find a reputable adhesion-removal provider to fix this.

What if you don’t want to see a doctor or provider to help you with your tight hamstrings?

Unfortunately, tight hamstrings requires that you see someone to fix it.

If you don’t want to fix your tight hamstrings but you want to stay active, stretching can allow you to be active without injuring your hamstrings in the short-term. But there’s a cost to going this route. The cost is that your problem will get worse faster and more exponentially over the next few months to years than if you didn’t use it.

My primary recommendation if you don’t want to get it fixed is that you:

  • don’t stretch.
  • don’t provoke any hamstring or low back symptoms of any kind.

Symptoms includes sensations such as pinching, ache, dullness, sharpness, throbbing, and other sensations that you can’t describe with words.  Soreness is OK, as long as it’s equal on both sides.

If you do a workout and you feel no sensation of worsening, that was a good, low-risk workout.

If you do a month of works and you feel no worsening, that was a good month. There’s lower risk of injury progressing over time.

As soon as you do movements or workouts that intensify soreness on one side or give you the funny feeling of the hamstrings feeling different, then you’re walking in risky territory.

Just stop fooling yourself by stretching and thinking your tight hamstrings are going to get better or more flexible. They’re not.

Fixing chronic pain is not simple or easy. If it were, the pain would be fixed already.

You can see the level of detail we go into with a patient with chronic hamstring tendonitis below:

In summary, the secret to that will change your life when it comes to tight hamstrings or anything that you’re doing that isn’t producing results is to simply:

Stop doing stuff that isn’t working.

Again, to quote Albert Einstein:

Insanity is stretching (or foam rolling) your tight hamstrings month after month, year after year, with no improvement … only to stretch some more.

speechbubblesWhat’s the deeper cause of your tight hamstrings? How long have you been stretching your tight hamstrings? Feel free to share in the comments below.

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Dr. Chris Stepien, DC, Full-Body ID Certified, ART Certified, CSCS, and CrossFit Level 1 Certified, fixes your annoying and frustrating pains, even when it's been over 6 months and you've seen 3-5 other doctors or therapists without lasting relief Barefoot Rehab in Denville, NJ. And when you're sad, depressed, or not enjoying life, Dr. Chris wants to hug you. He invites you to reach out, no matter what your concern is. Barefoot Rehab is here to serve you.
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  • Dave Brochin
    Posted at 03:22h, 12 September Reply

    Not clear on the pencil test. It’s lined up vertically over your lower spine and we’re looking for gaps underneath? Or its placed horizontally…? Please clarify.

    • Dr. Chris
      Posted at 11:55h, 12 September Reply

      Hi Dave, the Pencil Test post ( may give you the answer to your question. You’re laying the pencil on the person’s back. It’s not really going horizontally or vertically. When the person flexes (or rounds the spine up), it will be at an oblique angle to the horizon. Then yes, you’re looking for gaps OR for how much of the pencil is flat against the back. Hope that makes sense? Let me know if not.

      • Violet
        Posted at 13:04h, 17 June Reply

        My hamstrings have been insanely tight my entire life and no amount of stretching, yoga, pikayes, rolling has helped. I am 34 years old now and I love to run, but the sciatic pain is so intense particularly on my right side. It throbs from. My but to my toes. If I don’t do loads of sciatic stretches before I run, my foot falls asleep. I don’t know who to talk to about this or what to do. My legs won’t even go straight.

        • Dr. Chris
          Posted at 22:58h, 17 June Reply

          Hi Violet, sorry to hear this. It’s likely you have a congenital issue (from birth). Has anyone diagnosed you? Where do you live?

  • Linda
    Posted at 08:35h, 03 February Reply

    Hi, I recently started stretching in the morning as I felt guilty of not exercising. Shortly after, I experienced this knife like stabbing pains running on my hamstring and worsens at nights which hurts so bad I would cry myself to sleep. What did I do wrong and what medication should I take because the pain in unbearable. I used to be able to bend forward and reach towards my toes and my head would be able to touch my knees. Now I can’t even bend at all.

    • Dr. Chris
      Posted at 14:33h, 03 February Reply

      Hi Linda, if you created stabbing pains and night pains due to stretching, it’s like that you have Problems #1 or #2 above (sciatic nerve or disc issue). The disc issue is more probably if you can’t bend at all. That’s the whole point of this blog post is that blindly stretching can cause more harm than good. For now, I’d do cat-cow to gently let the disc recover. Hope this is helpful.

  • Amon
    Posted at 07:32h, 23 February Reply


    im having Hamstring tightness in my right leg only, especially after Squatting and the day after. My right hamstring is always under tension. My left leg is perfectly fine. Ive passed test 1 and 2 and im already pretty mobile, doing yoga for over a year already and stuff. Could you tell me what else i could try?

    Kind regards

    Maximilian Amon

    • Dr. Chris
      Posted at 20:55h, 23 February Reply

      Hi Amon, by test 1 and test 2, I assume you mean the “hamstring stretch test” and the “pencil test”. If that’s true, can you redo them and send me videos/pictures of the person who is doing the test on you. You will need two other people (one to test you, one to record you). I need a video of the HST and a picture of the PT.

      Next, do the Thigh to Chest Test (

      It’s possible that if you have hip joint problems, the hamstring (or more likely, groin muscles that feel like hamstring muscles) are over-contracting to protect it. Get me more feedback and I’ll do the best I can to help you.

  • Melanie
    Posted at 06:16h, 01 March Reply

    Hi there. I recently learned I have symptomatic Tarlov Cysts in my L5-S1 and my S2. Since the symptoms/ pain has started my hamstrings are horrible. I can’t straighten them out and touch my toes , heck even trying to bend forward while legs are straight is a nightmare. It’s not a very well known about issue so if you ha e no input I understand and appreciate you reading this anyways.

  • Dr. Chris
    Posted at 13:51h, 01 March Reply

    Hi Melanie, I’m sorry about your hamstrings. The good thing about knowing you have Tarlov cysts (which I assume have been diagnosed with MRI) is that the solution to your hamstring pain is addressing the cysts. Unfortunately, this may mean surgery. With a severe enough problem like that, I highly recommend you see a specialist who can see if you have OTHER contributing problems (i.e. adhesion around your discs or your sciatic nerve at the hip external rotators or at the hamstring). If you told me you were going to do surgery first, I would understand that reasoning. Let me know how I can support you.

  • Kari Gansch
    Posted at 14:13h, 13 March Reply

    Good morning! I’m an athlete, trainer, boxing fitness instructor, self defense trainer and am plagued with HORRIBLY tight hamstrings. I found out 2 years ago that I had spondylolisthesis of the L5 S1. It had 16mm of movement, so they fused me. My legs never seem straight. There always appears to be a bend in my knees. I’ve tried stretching, rolling, deep tissue massage (which was AWFUL) and I thought I was dying afterwards… lol. But honestly, NOTHING seems to work. I related to this article more than any other that I’ve read… and I’m well aware of my need to avoid any hip hinging exercises, such as kettlebell swings, good mornings and etc… they even seize up with some core work and hip bridges. I’m BEYOND frustrated. I live in a small town and there aren’t any adhesion removal providers near by… but with the work that I do, this is really becoming frustrating. Any help is greatly appreciated! Thank you!!!!

    • Dr. Chris
      Posted at 14:02h, 14 March Reply

      Hi Kari, I’m so sorry for your frustration. Hang in there. Notice you said, “they even seize up with some core work and hip bridges.” Let me tease this statement out for you. Core work and hip bridges are NOT stressing (or loading) your hamstrings, at least to any significant amount. Core work and hip bridges ARE loading your low back (esp. L5-S1). Therefore, if your hamstrings seize during core work and hip bridges, AND your hamstrings aren’t loaded but your L5-S1 is loaded, can you now see how your hamstring “seizing” and “horribly tight” hamstrings are coming from your low back?

      When you say “NOTHING seems to work”, well, unfortunately, with high probability, that’s a true statement. Even if you could get to my office, I wouldn’t be optimistic that I could help you based on the previous damage to L5-S1. If you ever can get to an adhesion removal specialist, it would be worthwhile to see if they can milk any more range out of your hamstrings BY LOOKING AT YOUR LOW BACK. But for now, stop doing stuff. You’ll save yourself a lot of emotional stress.

      I know that’s a deep rabbit hole. Use your time to process, emotionally. Deal with your emotional reasons for beating yourself up through exercise. I know because I’ve been there.

  • Aris
    Posted at 04:11h, 16 June Reply

    I’ve done yoga for years and recently my hamstrings have been SO tight, I can barely do a forward fold (used to be able to reach past two yoga blocks). I wasn’t injured- it literally just keeps getting tighter and tighter. What’s going on???

    • Dr. Chris
      Posted at 12:26h, 16 June Reply

      Hi Aris, it’s both hamstrings equally? If that’s correct, there’s usually a common denominator responsible for both hamstrings (or two muscles) getting tight and it’s most probably that your low back is on the brink of pain. Have someone perform the pencil test on you and report back in?

  • Fran Lombardi
    Posted at 17:22h, 18 June Reply

    The last four or five years my left leg only has been tight and needs to be stretched constantly. I get a monthly massage and started seeing a chiropractor for a few months every week. How long does this usually take to fix? There’s no pain, just discomfort. I like to work out, but don’t overdue it.

    • Dr. Chris
      Posted at 17:34h, 18 June Reply

      I’m sorry for the stretching Fran. The first question is, “Why does it need to be stretched?” If you have no low back pain and your Pencil Test (Google “barefoot rehab pencil test”) is fullish, it’s less likely low back and more likely adhesion either at your sciatic nerve and butt cheek or adhesion in your hamstring. Where do you live? Go to and click “find a provider” to see if someone is near you. It would take 1-5 treatments to significantly reduce your need to stretch it.

  • Kristian Francis
    Posted at 23:29h, 05 July Reply

    Is it possible to have all 3 cases? It all started when i pulled my right hamstring sprinting at football practice.. After a month I saw no progress so I went to a physical therapist and they said it was my back, not my hamstring, Even though my hamstring was blue. (Not any more specific than that) My back didn’t hurt at all at this period. After 2 months of physical therapy, I started to feel back pain, so I quit going. I played a season of football even though the pain and limited range of movement prohibited me from pretty much everything. After football season I went to a chiropractor because I kept having shocking sensations and constant aching in my right hamstring (with no physcial activity) and they had me take an MRI. He said I had 2 bulged discs in my lower back, but that shouldnt be making my hamstring hurt (basically didn’t help me at all) So I quit going and after months with the same problems, I went to a sports injury doctor (whatever they’re called) and he noticed that my right hamstring was extremely weak and he did an MRI and my mom didn’t share the results with me so it must have been insignificant. Months after that, I went to an acupuncturist after a friend with the same problem reccomended it it. The acupuncturist mentioned that I probably have priforimis syndrome, which was more of a logical response than what any of the previous practicers of medicine had given to me. The acupuncture results were decent, but for $80 a visit, I’d almost rather have a pissed off hamstring. I quit going because it didn’t fix the problem, it just put a bandaid over it. Now I retain from sitting, Take a dramatic amount of fish oil, do the catcow stretch every day, foam roll, and release faschia by standing on a rubber ball. My day to day life has significantly improved, but I still get aggravating moments sometimes and I still can’t be extemely physical as I once was. Mind you, this was 3 years ago and I’m now 20. I also thought to mention that the original injury occured after taking a supplement called “football” that contained Human Growth Hormone, and I’ve always blamed the injury on that.

    • Dr. Chris
      Posted at 15:27h, 06 July Reply

      Hi Kristian, I’m sorry for your struggles. Yes, it’s possible to have all 3 issues, although it doesn’t sound like you have all 3 (yet).

      If your hamstring is “blue”, you 100% have a hamstring injury. Now, hamstring injuries can occur to protect the low back, which it sounds like is happening with your case.

      If you had shocking symptoms, you have a nerve problem. But it’s likely coming from the low back (and not the piriformis or hamstring).

      YES, you can have constant aching in the hamstrings COMING from your low back. Google “low back disc referral patterns”. You’ll find pictures that highlight the “posterior thigh” or hamstring area.

      While the HGH probably didn’t help, it’s not likely to be the cause of your pains. There are plenty of people who take HGH who don’t have this pain. You either had a significant trauma to the low back (football or working out) or have genetically weak discs, given your age. It can also be a combo of both.

      I highly recommend you seek out doctors/therapists to fix your low back right now. This will haunt you 10-20 years down the road. If you were my son, I’d fly you to an Integrative Diagnosis doctor 2x/week for 2 months. Better to nip this in the bud now then deal with it for the rest of your life.

  • Jordan Gibb
    Posted at 10:41h, 19 August Reply

    Hi Dr Chris, a few weeks ago I did a strenuous glute workout and became very tight the next day where I naturally tried to stretch the backsides of my legs out sporadically throughout the day so as to be able to even walk properly. (I work sitting down all day so was very stiff when getting up.) I’ve been doing yoga for a while now so have had amazing flexibility, so naturally I thought this would pass and they’d get looser if I start slowly stretching them out. Stupidly I went to the gym again the next day and thought if I just did a light 10mins of the bike trainer to warm my sore muscles up I’d be able to stretch them out better. (Don’t ask me where this logic came from) and of course the next morning I woke up with the tightest legs I’ve ever had. I got my husband to very slowly liglft each leg up for me while I kept them straight and my left one felt a pang and I ripped it back down. The rest of the day I continued to try to stretch them out until i got such bad pain in my left one I couldn’t even hop on my right leg without grimacing. Had to use crutches for the next two days. Seems to have come right enough to do all things normal except that both legs have the tightest hamstrings. I don’t have pinching in or anything out of the ordinary light tightness I get in my back from my job and from that big stretch that morning I know it’s in my hammy. SO glad I came across this article because I certainly don’t want to make it worse and I want to heal them. Problem is I live in New Zealand so i have no idea of there is anyone that is an adhesive removal specialist here. Would a physio therapist hold this knowledge? Or would an acupuncturist be of any use?

    • Dr. Chris
      Posted at 17:00h, 19 August Reply

      Hi Jordan,

      I’m sorry about your issues.

      – Do you have brown urine? (if yes, you should go to the hospital immediately)

      If no, then …

      – What exercises did you do with your glute workout?
      – Do you normally have daily low back tightness or pain?

      This should get better with a few days of rest. If it doesn’t, you’ll have to find the best musculoskeletal provider around you can find. HOpefully, they have extensive knowledge of working with muscles.

      Let me know. : )

  • Steave
    Posted at 12:06h, 19 August Reply

    i have running daily 5 kilometer last 2 years and my hamstrings have been SO tight. give me some solution about it.

    • Dr. Chris
      Posted at 17:01h, 19 August Reply

      Ha, I need way more information Steve.

      All we know from what you’re doing is that you’re doing too much. You could have healthy muscles and be over-doing it. Or, you could have problems, be doing a normal amount of work, and over-doing it.

      What do your tests from above say?

  • Filip
    Posted at 17:20h, 06 October Reply

    Hi Dr. Chris, very informative article.
    I’ve been doing hamstring stretches for a few months, and apart from the initial improvement in range of motion (I can barely touch the ground with my fingers when bending forward, before I wasn’t even close), and ease of pain after doing the stretches, the pain always comes back.
    I have a constant pain in the left hamstring which is radiating towards my calf sometimes.

    Firstly I had trouble sitting, but now my hamstring is hurting even when sleeping or walking. The pain can be described as a pain after you walked/ran 10 miles and your legs are dying out of tiredness, and sometimes it’s a shocking, nerve pain. It really depends on IDK what! I am so confused by this! It only manifests in left leg.

    Like now when I’m typing this, I’m feeling pulsations in my hamstring and very mild tingling in feet (occasionaly). I noticed that my almost whole left leg is tingling and become numb when I sit on the toilet. It must be nerve issue, but how to fix it?
    Leg also feels much heavier than the right leg which is healthy.
    I did MRI on lower back, and everything is fine apart from the perineural cyst size of 8mm in S2 segment of spine which doctor said it’s not concern. Or is it?!

    My wife performed test 1 on me and I can do about 70 degrees, but when she bent my feet towards me I felt “nerve” pain in my feet and a bit in hamstring.
    I have plantar fasciitis on both feet, which are flat, and I’m using insoles which I wear all the time.

    Is this sciatic nerve related problem? Should I stop stretching my hamstrings or continue?
    Piriformis syndrome maybe? I am doing stretches for that, but no improvement really.

    I’m sorry I can’t come in person, you are too far away, and I know it’s rude to ask for a free help online, but I don’t know what else to do. Doctors haven’t helped much, they said my lower back is not the issue (MRI clear except the cyst), that I should move more and come back in a few months for new assessment. That’s not helpful at all.

    • Dr. Chris
      Posted at 01:10h, 07 October Reply

      It’s not rude Filip. I’m here to serve. Feel free to use me as much as you need. You have a disc problem in your low back my friend. Google “sclerotegenous referral low back”. Certain lumbar discs refer to the hamstrings. Your nerve symptoms support this diagnosis. I’d find the best myofascial therapist around you to do work on you. There is your best shot. If you can’t find one, know that in the near future, in the next few years, you’ll need to see someone like me to prevent this from getting worse as you get older. Because it will get worse. LMK. Try the “Pencil Test” we have on the low back range tests. Let me know if you have space under the pencil.

      • Filip
        Posted at 00:26h, 08 October Reply

        I just did the test, came back perfect. Only first 1 inch of the pencil is adjacent to the skin, the rest is “sticking” out. I had MRI of lower back a month ago, wouldn’t they see a disk problem?

        • Dr. Chris
          Posted at 16:43h, 08 October Reply

          Not always – they’re looking for severe issues. When you tip the pencil to the other end, all of it rounds as well? Or is there any larger flat spot?

          Your history trumps imaging. Although if they didn’t say anything on the report, that’s a better sign that there isn’t severe damage.

          If the low back really isn’t an issue, then it’s most likely that your sciatic nerve is glued to your hip external rotators (i.e. piriformis) or hamstring muscles themselves. This is a possibility that will move up our diagnostic list if your low back truly is fine.

          But, we still don’t have anything to explain the constant nature of your symptoms. That’s why this looks more like a disc than it does sciatic nerve entrapment at the butt or hamstrings.

  • Stephanie
    Posted at 20:28h, 27 October Reply

    I have a herniated disc (9mm) on L5/s1. Symptoms appeared in early August after some yard work. I got an epidural about a month later after being in so much pain for the month with radiating pain down my left leg and foot. The epidural helped and I started physical therapy. Things were much better after the shot, but my hamstrings and piriformis still felt super tight. I’m not sure if the attempted stretching of the hamstrings/piriformis made things worse or if the epidural is just wearing off, but I’ve had more of the radiating pain down my leg starting again more consistently. After watching your video, I’m thinking it’s really not a tight hamstring, but just the hamstring trying to protect the nerve. I don’t want to screw things up more by trying to stretch the hamstring/piriformis…not sure what to do now at this point. I tried looking up Integrative Diagnosis doctors in Los Angeles, but there are none at all in the area. I purchased an adjustable bed that goes into zero gravity and an inversion table. I haven’t used the inversion table much yet, but do the zero gravity position often. The acupuncturist says most people my age (48) have herniated discs, it’s more the tight muscles that you need to fix that are pushing on the nerve. I’m just feeling really confused about what is the proper way to fix things and don’t want to do anything wrong that could cause long term implications. I want to travel, etc. with my kids, but can’t stand for long periods of time without the sciatic nerve issue/muscle tightness down my leg. Sitting is generally fine, but going from standing to sitting, trying to straighten my leg in the bath tub, getting out of the car, etc. is tough. Thank you so much for your help.

    • Dr. Chris
      Posted at 20:00h, 28 October Reply

      Yeah, this isn’t a hamstring issue. There is an Integrative Diagnosis doctor in CA, but he’s not too close to LA. Ideally, I’d see him. If you can’t, I’d see a really good myofascial therapist or doctor. While it’s true that most people have herniations/bulges at your age, yours is obviously symptomatic. Search “Barefoot Rehab Pencil Test” and see how bad your range is. This will tell you how badly you would need this type of doctor. If there’s space under the pencil, you need one.

  • Susan Pelton
    Posted at 00:03h, 02 December Reply

    Since I was a child, I have never been able to touch my toes if my feet were pointed straight. If they are turned to the sides I can put my legs behind my head easily. As an adult and a PT looks at this and keeps wanting to “help me” stretch my hamstrings – which just causes so much pain. I want them to work with my body as God created it. I am hyperflexible except for that one area. I had a knee replacement done and I need help getting up off the floor – why can’t they use my strengths in my body. Any suggestions?

    • Dr. Chris
      Posted at 02:00h, 03 December Reply

      Hi Susan, I’d have them stop. If this hasn’t worked in a month, it’s NOT going to work now. That’s Einstein’s definition of insanity. I bet you have a hip joint morphology issue. You might be able to see a hip orthopedic specialist who can tell you how they are shaped. You just have to find therapists who know WHY your hips are shaped liked that and have them strengthen you AROUND that. Check out “anteverted vs. retroverted hip joints”.

  • Adam Justiniano
    Posted at 18:10h, 19 March Reply

    I had a high hamstring strain, rehabbed it for about 3 months. It got better, I was able to put an eccentric amount of stress on the muscle. A few weeks back, I was running (which is how I strained it in the first place) I pulled it again (grade 1).

    It has been about a month, I am able to load my hamstring but I still feel weak and have very light bruising…can barely see it. Should I wait for it to heal or continue light strengthening and stretching? I surf a lot so my main goal is to get back into the water.

    • Dr. Chris
      Posted at 19:55h, 28 May Reply

      Hi Adam, sorry for delay. It sounds like we don’t have a complete diagnosis. If it “got better”, why did you strain it again? I’d see a doctor who can diagnose you completely so it’s fixed once and for all.

  • Lee H
    Posted at 18:39h, 28 May Reply

    Hello, I have a 13 year old son who was recently Dx with mild / moderate central disc protrusion of L5-S1. He is 2 months out from the injury. He has regained about 50% of his forward range of motion, his hamstrings are EXTREMELY tight. He has tried continuing the stretching, he went to a neurosurgeon for review and he is applying time. No sharp pain. He does 99% of his normal activities. He used to be able to do the splits in both directions now he has plateaued with gaining any of that forward flexion back. Should he continue stretching so much? is there anything else we could look at doing to improve his outcome? Feeling frustrated that he isn’t really progressing anymore and the PT person isn’t really giving us any new info to go on. Thanks ~ Lee

  • Dr. Chris
    Posted at 19:57h, 28 May Reply

    If the hamstrings are “TIGHT”, It’s most likely because they’re “contracting” to protect the inflamed disc. Why else would they be tight? It’s more about unloading the disc enough to get his hamstrings to relax. I’d find an adhesion specialist to work on his disc and help it recover faster if it’s about time for him.

  • Lee H
    Posted at 18:56h, 29 May Reply

    Hi Dr. Chris. Thank you for the information and quick reply. I have two additional follow up questions. I found someone that specializes in ‘manual’ therapy…would you consider that similar / same to an adhesion specialist? Also, I have been looking at another treatment facility that utilizes spinal decompression with what looks like a Triton DTS table…if you had to choose between the two therapies would you say one is better than the other…should they both be done? Thanks again for the help and information, I appreciate you taking time out of your day to write back.

    • Dr. Chris
      Posted at 08:05h, 01 June Reply

      I would NOT consider this the same as an adhesion specialist. However, it makes sense for people to try manual therapy and see how it goes. If you get NO PERMANENT relief in 1-5 treatments, stop going. I wouldn’t bother with spinal decompression. It gets really good results very seldom. Not worth it. it’s not great at selecting which patients it would work for and in theory, it’s not addressing any real pathology. When you get off that machine, the pressure comes right back on the discs.

      Definitely choose manual therapy. : )

  • Josh R
    Posted at 05:31h, 20 June Reply

    Hello Dr. Chris. I recently had x-rays that show i have an anterior tilt in my hips. I can literally put a finger on each side of my hips parallel to one another, and you can see one side is higher than the other. I am assuming this is what is causing problems with literally everything from the hips down (tight hams, weak knees, tight calves and even affects my ankles and feet). I also seem to have weak mid-section muscles and nearly non-existent obliques and on top of that the muscles in my ribs are affected along with (mildly) my chest. My X-rays also show problems on my left side around my collarbone/shoulder (possible muscle degeneration or pre-degenerating) which could be the cause of the problems i am experiences around the upper body area. But wait it gets better! The X-rays also show that the muscles that make up the front of my neck are too “straight “. One of the most notable problems i have i forgot to mention is my upper back including the upper middle, rhomboids Shoulders and yes up to my neck. My back always feels like i do “back day” at the gym 7 days a week for 4 hours, although i haven’t worked out in years besides light at home exercise routines and some stretching. My back seems way oversized (especially my giant Rhombs) compared to the rest of my body. With these 3 problems pointed out by my X-ray in combination with each other I experience some sort of “problem” weather it be tightness, shortness or just plain soreness of my muscles virtually in every part of my body. Some days its not so bad, and others im running around the house looking for ice packs and topicals and begging for someone to give me a damn back rub! Anyways, Back to the hips. I found scarring all along my hip/thigh area both inner near my groin and outter near my glutes. Scarring is far worse on the right side it seems. Is this because ive lost muscle in these areas? do i need to grow it back somehow? Im assuming the goal is to literally “straighten out my hips” until the tilt is gone and things seem even and it doesnt feel like one leg is longer than the other anymore. Is there a way to know which abductors i should be stretching? do i even want to stretch my abductors for this problem? is it possible from what i explained that the problem i have on one side of my body can be the exact opposite on the other side ( for example my inner abductors are affected on my left side with my outer abductors affected on my right) thus resulting in a complicated exercise and stretching routine i would have to follow? Would exercises having to do with “protective tension” solutions be my saving grace or does my description suggest i have a more advanced diagnosis in which stretching might not help? Also is there any advice you can give my about my neck and back pain? I forgot to mention that my lower back never flares up just my upper back. My glutes are weak almost non existent do i need to strengthen them or should i stay away from squats? should i even be doing any muscle building exercises or simply finding the right stretches for my particular case and make a routine out of them? I know these issues are from poor lifestyle choices mostly if not completely, because i havent had any notable injuries growing up. never even broke a bone before. If i had to guess id say i sit at the computer way to long. Also, went through a depression phase where i slept for like 14 hours a day and yes, you guessed it sat at the computer some more with not alot of moving around in between to keep my muscles mobile so the blame is entirely on me i suppose. Now that ive smartened up im just trying to cope with the shitstorm i brought upon myself and am a little lost on where to start. Surgery or expensive doctors or therapist are out of the question for at least for a while so im on my own to fix this. Help me Doc!

    • Dr. Chris
      Posted at 11:22h, 24 June Reply

      Hi Josh, that’s good stuff! Good awareness you have. The first thing to be clear about is any pain or tightness you’re feeling is evidence that you’re putting too much stress on a damaged body part. So, you need to take stress off that damaged body part. If you’re sitting too much and that causes your symptoms, then you need to either NOT sit or sit better respecting the Sit-Slide-Lean Rule. Because you have a lot of findings and a lot of symptoms, you definitely would fall into the advanced category stage. I might try some light physical therapy type strengthening to see if your symptoms get better after 30 days. I wouldn’t go crazy because you could cause more harm than good.

  • Michael Wilkinson
    Posted at 19:29h, 03 September Reply

    Dr. Chris,

    I have the world’s tightest legs. I’ve been doing PT for almost three weeks. The legs are strengthening but the tightness is constant. I have a desk job but I would walk a lot; the legs have been tight for years but recently got quality-of-life worse.. It started with my orthotics going out (I didn’t know); me feet hurt so I became more sedentary. Now I have shoes my podiatrist recommended “to let the orthotics do their work” (cushion neutral, not stability).

    I recently found out I have lumbar scoliosis. Wasn’t there five years ago. And there’s little space at the base of my spine. Could this be based on a “squished nerve” or some such thing? I go back to my physio-whatever (Physical Medicine and Rehab) guy in a week or so for more/better X-rays. I know I’ve been too sedentary with ailments but this is too much.

    • Dr. Chris
      Posted at 12:01h, 05 September Reply

      Yeah, if both hamstrings got tighter at the same time and the scoliosis/diminished space is new, it makes sense this is present due to an overloaded disc. The tigthness is your body protecting itself. I’d see if anyone can remove adhesion from your low back and see if it changes.

  • Christy H.
    Posted at 13:47h, 07 October Reply

    Dr. Chris,
    I have had the weirdest thing happen this week. My hips and hamstrings have been so painful when I lay down at night. Aching, radiating pain all throughout my pelvic region, into my lower back slightly, and down my legs. I can change positions laying down to get a good nights sleep, it’s so painful. If I get up and walk around and then sleep in a recliner they are better.
    I have had a torn gluteus medius for almost a decade that doesn’t get better on the right side, and that seems to be where it is worse, but it is on both sides. I don’t want to have surgery on my hip, but if this pain is related…I’m ready to do it, it is so painful at night.
    My hamstrings have always been tight, but, they seem way worse since this started one week ago.

  • Sam clader
    Posted at 20:20h, 09 October Reply

    Hi Dr Chris
    Not sure if you are still answering these questions but seeing as I’m desperate at the moment I thought I’d give it a try.
    I want to ask you if tight hamstrings could be the cause of pain in my planter fascia and heel?
    My initial diagnosis was planted fasciitis but I do not have typical symptoms as in my feet do not hurt in the morning and pain increases throughout the day. Ive seen Podiatrists, Neurologists and Orthopidics and nobody can tell me what is wrong. I’ve just had surgery to release my calf muscle to see if that helps. So far it hasn’t which is why I’m still searching for answers. Any thought would be very much appreciated. Thank you

  • When Muscle Scraping Causes Harm
    Posted at 12:10h, 18 January Reply

    […] at the clinic, we’ll get a patient who has been stretching their hamstrings for […]

  • John Cannarsa
    Posted at 00:59h, 17 April Reply

    Thanks for your article. No matter how much I stretch my hamstrings and lower back always go back to being extremely tight at the beginning of each day. So tight that I’ve had a timer set for every hour, and I stretch my hamstrings a different way each time it goes off. When I stretch them it pulls on my lower back in a painful-but-sort-of-feels-good kind of way, and definitely, most definitely involves my sciatic nerve, mostly on the right.. So I decided to take your advice and just stop stretching my hamstrings. For two days the only thing I’ve done (on pure speculation) is stretch my right quadricep by pulling my foot back and up to my butt. I noticed in the past that this seems to “get at” the sciatic nerve pain from a different angle. In just two days I can’t believe the difference. And when I attempt to touch my toes my hamstrings actually seem looser than when I was stretching them 10 times per day. The nerve pain has definitely lessened, and if I feel it the quadricep stretch seems to knock it out. Does this make any sense? I thought I’d heard of every type of therapy, but adhesion concept is new to me. Maybe I’ll finally be able to solve this thing. Oh, and what you said about not working out to the point of doing harm makes complete sense to me—it’s what I’ve been doing for years. Overdo it, hit the pain wall, rest for weeks or months, then repeat…

    • Dr. Chris
      Posted at 16:18h, 20 April Reply

      Hi John! So happy it’s helpful.

      Makes complete sense. A “Tight Muscle” will feel the same, but it can have multiple causes. 1 – adhesion. 2 – protective tension coming from disc. Sounds like you have #2 and you were making it worse with all of that stretching. Good job noticing and unloading the disc. Sounds like your disc is happier so it’s released the contraction of the hamstrings because of it. Keep playing with how you load your discs and it’ll continue to get better!

  • Molly Miner
    Posted at 23:26h, 05 May Reply

    Hello. I stumbled upon your site when searching for whether tight hamstrings can cause foot pain. I know my hamstrings are tight and always have been. A few months ago I had an extensive abdominal surgery and developed low back discomfort and sacral pain during the recovery. I have sacroiliitis and a torn disc at L4. The disc is not pressing on any nerves, according to MRI, and there is no stenosis. I’m doing physical therapy and am still out of work at the moment.

    During these past few months I developed intense, chronic knee pain and sporadic pain in the arches of my feet. I’ve been stretching my hamstrings, IT bands, and inner thighs and the knee pain has gone away. But today my arches hurt for no apparent reason and they’ve been better for a couple of weeks before now. I did the pencil test and look good in that area. Just trying to figure out what’s going on with my feet. Everything is pretty unpleasant at the moment. Any thoughts? Thanks for your time.

  • Mel Cooksley
    Posted at 10:07h, 06 May Reply

    I’ve been stretching my calves and hamstrings regularly the last few months as I was suffering from plantar fasciitis and found it helped relieve the pain the the arches of my feet. I currently walk over 10 miles a day as a postwoman.

    I’ve tried to go back to playing football lately and have found my right hamstring is seizing up when I start running and have started getting pain in my lower back. Any advice on what I should do?

    • Dr. Chris
      Posted at 19:45h, 13 May Reply

      Hmmm, not enough info. You could have a low back issue, hip joint issue, sciatic nerve issue, or ham string issue. Can you get checked for adhesion?

  • Shelby
    Posted at 19:51h, 16 May Reply

    I was stretching on the floor with my legs spread and moving face towards the ground. I heard and felt a pop in my hamstring (I think ) were my hamstring would be connected to my glute. In the crease area. Very painful afterwards for a couple of weeks and I had to modify my fitness routine till it felt better. Ever since it has been really tight and when I run or bend over I can still feel it, a tight throbbing. I have tried not to stretch it too much. Massaged it out a couple of times. It’s been about two months so I was thinking if I pulled my hamstring it should be healed by now?

    • Dr. Chris
      Posted at 17:25h, 17 May Reply

      100% agreed. Obviously there’s something else going on. Question is – why did the hamstring “contract” and pop? Either due to protection of disc, sciatic nerve entrapment, or less probable – pre-existing adhesion in ham or hip joint issue.

  • Sammy
    Posted at 11:44h, 30 June Reply

    My daughter is ONLY 10 years old. She kicked a soccer ball when it was COLD outside… at school when it was cold and felt a pull in the back of her leg where the hamstring is.. at first she said she stumbled a little, and her friends checked on her.. she could walk so she thought she would be okay, following day she would try to run and felt tightness.. etc.. We saw her a few days running at softball around the bases we thought her shoe was about to come off or something, she ran so strange.. She looked very uncomfortable suddenly when she would run.. Now over two months later, she still doesn’t run the way she did before and both her hamstrings in the back of her legs feel tight, and she can not touch her toes..

    • Dr. Chris
      Posted at 14:33h, 04 July Reply

      Could be hamstring adhesion, a sciatic nerve entrapment, or protective contraction of the hams due to a lumbar problem. You’d need her to get examined to figure out exactly what’s going on.

  • Linda Friedman Schmidt
    Posted at 02:47h, 19 July Reply

    I am a 72 year old female, very slim, a regular in gym classes for 30 years and a Latin ballroom salsa dancer for 22 years up until the pandemic hit. I don’t sit much at home; I’ve had a standing desk for years. For over 6 months I’ve had what feels like a very tight left hamstring along with neurological tingling down to my feet. Exercises for sciatica have not helped, neither have piriformis exercises. Foam rolling does not help.

    History with most recent first:
    Due to the pandemic my last day at the gym was in early March 2020. I participated in a circuit class. We had to lift weights, place them down on the floor, run to the other side of the gym, and run back while running backwards. The instructor never told us to look back while running backwards. I ran backwards until I bumped into the pair of weights on the floor and fell hard onto the weights mostly with the outside of my left butt cheek and the area directly underneath it. It hurt very much but I was able to walk out of the class and the gym normally. There was bruising in the area which healed. Soon I was able to continue exercising at home. For the next few months I was doing jumping jacks on a rebounder, squatting, lunging, and weight lifting with no pain at all.

    Six months later on December 28th, 2020, I went for a walk with my husband in our semi rural area. It was uphill and downhill. When we arrived home as we were approached the door I suddenly had excruciating pain down the left side of my body. I could hardly walk. Inside I lay down on my stomach and tried cobra pose which had alleviated back pain years before. It did not help. The next morning the pain was still so bad that I suddenly fainted while standing in my kitchen. As I fainted I fell quickly onto my left butt cheek again, this time on top of a hard ice pack I had in my pants to ease the pain. This was during the height of the pandemic and going to see a doctor was out of the question, Could the gym fall and then the home fall onto the outside of the left butt cheek have injured the piriformis? Could there be adhesions there? Could the piriformis have become tighter after healing causing the sciatic pain?

    Slowly things got back to near normal. Early on some days walking outside did not feel normal: Even though I could jump on the rebounder and dance inside, walking quickly outside was hard. Now that has improved but the tight hamstring feeling with some neurological issues down the left leg remain. Looking in the mirror unclothed it seems as if my body has shifted. The center line that runs down from between the breasts to the navel is no longer centered, it veers left. My left hip now appears visibly lower than my right hip and has less of a curve than my right hip. Now sometimes I have knee pain too which I attribute to the tight hamstring issue. I resumed exercise, but avoid the squats and lunges and anything else which causes pain. After also having some hip (groin) pain, I eased up on the jumping jacks.

    3/5/14 Dr. Wyss HSS New York City: Early findings of osteoarthritis and hip impingement

    10/13/2013 Dr. Loren Fishman New York City diagnosis and 11/14/2013 MRI results: Left leg a tiny bit shorter than right. Pinched nerve, left proximal lateral recess mild spinal stenosis L4-5. L5=S1 disc bulge with osteophytic ridging assymetric to the left with moderate facet arthropathy.

    Even though the 2013 – 2014 doctors’ diagnoses were a bit scary, I soon felt better and resumed salsa dancing with young partners along with regular gym attendance and continued these activities for the next 6 years with no problems.

    Can you help me with the constant left tight hamstring feeling?

  • Dr. Chris
    Posted at 13:16h, 05 August Reply

    Hi Linda, sorry for the delay.

    Yeah sounds like this is a primary low back issue. I view the “left hip lower” as a form of antalgia where the spine is deloading the injured tissue unconsciously. Yes, the fall on the left glute could’ve been the straw that broke the camel’s back as a form of “double crush.”

    Can we help? It’s possible – it depends how much adhesion you have and what your diagnosis is. If you want to see if youre a good candidate for our care, call the office and schdule a call with our patient advocates 862-205-4847 <3 Chris

  • Kristen Westlake
    Posted at 16:40h, 28 October Reply

    Hi Dr. Chris,

    I was so happy to find your article. I have been researching and researching for help with my bilateral hamstring / glute pain. I am not sure what started it all, but a bit of history might help set the stage:

    I am a 57 year old woman and have been a runner since I was 15. I ran competitive cross country and track in college and continued to run mostly 10Ks until about 5 years ago. I prefer trail running. I am a toe runner and wear the most minimal style of minimalist shoes.

    I experienced sudden onset of Rheumatoid arthritis almost 2 years ago which kept me from running (it hit my ankles, feet, and knees hard) until my RA drugs kicked in and helped. I only mention the RA because perhaps it caused some gait altering issues .. not sure, but every ounce of information is often helpful in diagnosis. I did low impact / high intensity TRX workouts to manage my RA pain and to get my heart rate up.

    So, I was able to slowly break into running again finally last summer ( a little at a time). By last October I was running really well over 5 miles of trail, a few times a week. Then one day, last November, I felt my glutes tighten up on my run. I didn’t give it a lot of thought but soon it was keeping me from being able to really kick up the cadence. Soon, the pain from my glutes was traveling down to my hamstrings. It hurt to sit for long, especially on hard metal chairs. I was very squirmy and couldn’t sit still. It got so that I couldn’t run at all. Pain started out worse in the left hammy but its definitely bilateral.

    Finally, in January of this year, I saw a Sports Med doctor. He didn’t poke or prod or do any tests but apparently from what I described he seemed to think I have high hamstring strains or maybe even piraformis syndrome. He referred me to Physical Therapy. PT gave me exercises to strengthen the glutes and hamstrings. They did tests that said my hams, glutes, and hip flexors were weak and my quads were strong. The exercised helped with strength but I still had pain .. in fact the pain became worse, with spasms and cramping in the hamstrings that I had not experienced before.

    I ran out of sessions so checked back in with my sports med doc, who said the strain is healed but I need to aggressively stretch. Stretching does make it feel better, but the pain is still here. I tried a few other things which seems to help, its not as bad as it had gotten to be. I use a percussion gun, I wear compression shorts, I stopped sitting so much when I work and stand more. I have been able to start rehab running again ( walking mostly and running until the pain sets in).

    Last week I thought I was starting to see the winning side of this issue. But then I had to drive 2 hours to an appointment and I had 6 bad days after. It’s now been feeling better to run than to walk (on my rehab runs). However, this morning it started that way (better running than walking) until I squatted down to stretch. When I attempted my next run, pain shot up both hamstrings and into that gluteal crease.

    After finding your article I had my husband do the sciatic nerve test and the cat/cow pencil test. If he did them right, both were negative. I have been to a chiropractor that taught me how to eliminate the adhesions in my Achilles when I had tendonitis. It worked great … the location now is of course, larger. I wish I lived closer to you!

    Do you have any ideas of what might be plaguing me, suggestions, or a referral to someone who can professionally remove my adhesions, if that is the problem?

    Thank you so much for any help!

    Kristen Westlake

    • Dr. Chris
      Posted at 00:48h, 17 November Reply

      Hi Kristen, so sorry for your struggle.

      First, yes, my colleagues can be found here:

      Second, get your RA fixed by a functional medicine doctor. Chris Kresser is an expert with a lot of posts about fixing autoimmune conditions.

      I don’t know a specific RA specialist but I know they’re out there. A strict Paleo diet is a good place to start for 30-60 days.

      THird, this sounds like a disc issue “referring” pain to the glutes and hams. YOu may have done the tests right, but I imagine you didn’t. Most people have at least some positive testing – it’s a matter of how restricted.

      Your episode for 6 days is what tips me off to that.

      We have people travel from all across US. Spoke to 2 patients from CA last week who are coming to NJ. You don’t have to come see us. But you may have to travel to St Louis, Chicago, Colorado, or Buffalo if you want permanent relief.

      We can always do a virtual consult as well if you want to.

  • Chris Preston
    Posted at 11:51h, 02 December Reply

    Hi Chris, this is a very interesting article and I wanted to thank you for sharing your knowledge. I’m in the UK so I can’t come to your clinic but could you help me to find someone here that works in a similar way to you? What’s the name for what you do? In the past I’ve seen a physio, chiropractor and osteopath. Thanks in advance. Chris

    • Dr. Chris
      Posted at 15:05h, 08 December Reply

      TY for kind words Chris. Unfortunately we only have practitioners in US and Australia. Your best bet is to find a good myofascial therapist and give them 5 treatments to get you some % of permanent relief. Let us know how we can support.

  • Linda Mpofu-Dobo
    Posted at 09:57h, 31 December Reply


    I have upper hamstring tendonitis in my left leg caused by overstretching in a yoga class about 5 years ago. It keeps getting reinflammed when I increase the intensity of stretching. What can I do to address this?

    Thank you.

    • Dr. Chris
      Posted at 16:40h, 03 January Reply

      How do you know its tendonitis? Have you had an MRI?

      Do you know how all of your ranges of motion are as described above?

      If it’s been 5 years, you most definitely have adhesion in your ham, low back, or around your sciatic nerve. Can you find a Manual Adhesion Release specialist?

  • st
    Posted at 17:08h, 22 April Reply

    I only feel my hamstring tight when i try to stretch them and i constantly getting lower back soreness if staying at one position for too long ( sitting, standing, sleeping). One toe of my right foot always feeling numb

    • Dr. Chris
      Posted at 17:16h, 25 April Reply

      Sounds like you have a disc radiculopathy with that toe going numb. If not, it’s a periphenal nerve entrapment. I’d focus treatment on the low back.

  • Simone Carlin
    Posted at 21:15h, 23 April Reply

    Hello Dr. Chris,

    I had a hip arthroscopy 7 months ago, and right now I have upper hamstring tendonitis. ( I had ultrasound exam). I had a very agressive PT, and that hurt me a lot. Right now I am much better, my biggest problem is my Hamstring. In this case, do you think I shouldn’t strech either?

    • Dr. Chris
      Posted at 17:17h, 25 April Reply

      Hi Simone, what pathology is being addressed by the stretching? What you need to figure out is why the hamstring is still an issue. Or why isn’t the hamstring stretch test 90 degrees? When you figure that out, the answer will be more clear.

  • Jody Payne
    Posted at 15:49h, 21 September Reply

    Hi Dr Chris

    My daughter is an elite dance student studying for a professional career in dance. While she has no pain and would most likely pass the sciatic nerve test as she would pass 90° but when she stretches her hamstrings she gets a strong pain sensation behind her knees and down her calves. Now as a dancer she is constantly stretching and needs extreme flexibility. I have taken her to a dns practitioner who believes the blockage is her shoulder and back. I am going to ring a id practitioner tomorrow but just wondering at birth she got stuck and had to be pulled out by her head could this have created an adhesion in that neck shoulder area. We did take her for baby chiro after her birth but literally 9 years this girl has been stretching her hamstrings with minimal improvement. Dorsifkexsion of the foot is an issue for her too. How long would treatment be for both sciatic and back/neck approximately.

    • Dr. Chris
      Posted at 17:58h, 21 September Reply

      Hi Jody – you’re a great mom. I can’t says how long it would be – it depends how much adhesion she has. But barring no disc pathology, she should notice sustained results immediately. I’d start by checking her tibial nerve at soleus, then sciatic nerve at hamstrings/adductor magnus before I looked at her neck. But yeah, since she wants to go professional with dance, any little adhesion or restriction could cause big issues. She needs to function 100% everywhere in her body.

  • Joakim W
    Posted at 00:54h, 23 January Reply

    Hi! I have been to maybe 4-5 different physio therapists / ” medical voodoo doctors”, and I explain to them the same thing. I have had VERY tight hamstrings my whole life, I am 2-3 dm from touching my toes and so on. They have all said that I need to stretch my hamstrings and it should be able to bend to a certain degree etc. Everytime I have been stretching the hamstrings like a maniac, almost everyday for 6-12 months. They get more flexixble, but as soon as I stop they go back to the original starting position, and I have to start this process all over again, doing stretchws for 6 months until they get really “flexible” again,

    However, I have never had any pain nor limitations in doing exercises with my “very stiff hamstrings”. When I was younger I was competing in sprinting, and now I am competing in powerlifting., never any issues except cramps when i did isolated leg curls, but that was years ago and now it feels fine with a continuation of tranining. All these voodoo doctors preach that I should be more flexible (I am very tight in most of my body, had back low back issues before but that went away with more back extentions). I also have very difficult to squat with narrow grip and get cramps in shouldrs (I have very stight shoulders, or so I think). But i have never had any issues with my tight hamstrings, and now i have also started with more dynamic streetch and foam rolling prior to my power lifting routine, which so far have felt great AND i have found several scientific support that claims that both of these are a great way to improve flexibility and prevent injury, speeding up recovery etc. However, this static stretching i have NOT found a single study that proves this, but rather the opposite in many studies, that static stretching should be done with caution if I want to avoid injuries!

    What do you think about this? And what should I do? Keep foamr rolling and dynamic stretches prior to workout, or also continue with this never ending madness? I hate stretching btw, it always feel horrible to do it. However, my tight shoulders concerns me, especially for squat and overhead presses where it is acutally a problem, or should i even there include more dynamic stretches to fix the problem?

    Thank you for listening. /Joakim from Sweden

    • Dr. Chris
      Posted at 14:43h, 14 February Reply

      Hi Joakim, yeah, I’d stop stretching as it obviously isn’t working. Sounds like you have a congenital (you were born with) issue in your spine causing “protective tightness” in your hamstrings. I’d avoid going to end range with hamstring stretches and be mindful about how you strengthen the lumbar spine as you’re likely at high risk of lumbar spinal injury if you ignore it.

  • Dan P
    Posted at 18:57h, 22 March Reply

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for all your videos and info on your website, super helpful. I’ve been to a few physical therapists for an issue but so far no luck. A couple months ago I started feeling really tight behind my knee where my hamstring and calf meet in my driving leg. If I stretched my calf or hamstring it got worse. I only experience symptoms when standing still and in my driving leg, I can workout with no problems, feels better with activity but always comes back when standing still. After a couple months, its worked its way into both my legs – adductors/inner hamstrings. Any ideas on what might be causing this? Thanks! Dan

    • Dr. Chris
      Posted at 16:39h, 23 March Reply

      TY for kind words. If it’s now on both sides, it sounds like some variation of lumbar disc with nerve root involvement connecting to sciatic and tibial nerve entrapment. Relief would be a matter of removing adhesion along the course of these nerves all the way up to the low back. You’re young and fit enough that when active and your muscles have blood flow, the load is taken off the low back and nerves.

  • Sunny Burns
    Posted at 05:02h, 18 July Reply

    Dr. Chris, I feel like this is exactly me… been stretching for a few months which definitely helps but I know the underlying pain issue is still there. I might need to see a adhesion-removal provider… I actually live in Mine Hill, NJ, super close to Denville, but am away for the next three months in Sagamihara, Kanagawa, Japan for work… Do you know what I would search to find someone on google maps that could help me here in Japan?

    I had a hamstring graft ACL reconstruction 20 months ago, I’ve since completed a Olympic Triathlon and half-marathon. About to go on a 300 miles cycling trip around Mt Fuji this weekend (4-days). Anyway quite active, I’ve had this pain in the back of my knee for the past 4 months on and off, itll be good for a few days, then flair up again, at first I thought it might be meniscus related, but went to see a “bone-setter” here, kind of like a chiropractor… he said my balance was off, showed me that my left foot was like 1/2 inch longer than my right, he did this weird breathing thing where he poked the center of my chest/stomach area, and restored my balance… maybe placebo, but my toes lined up after that and I felt better. He also had me start doing hamstring stretches and massages which has definetly helped, but its been several weeks now, and although improved, I feel like the underlying issue (Like you hinted at) is still there. And I’ve been stretching at least twice a day, usually for a total of 10-40 minutes a day.

    I also have experienced neck tightness and pain since I started stretching my hamstring and wondering if that’s all connected somehow… I definitely feel like that sciatic nerve is related, as before I started regularly stretching my hamstring, whenever I would point my toes while lying in bed it would usually trigger the arch of my foot to cramp… the hamstring stretches do seem to have helped that though… but made my neck region tighter?

    Does any of that make sense? Sorry for the long post… just really want to be free from this pain and train pain free.

    • Dr. Chris
      Posted at 14:12h, 23 July Reply

      Hi Sunny, oh wow, you’re close. There aren’t any providers in Japan. I pretty much know all of the providers. We have none in Asia. Sounds like the sciatic/tibial nerves are entrapped somewhere. The question is where.

  • Sunny Burns
    Posted at 23:06h, 24 July Reply

    Thanks for the reply… well for now I’ll just continue stretching then and try to use my muscle roller more on those areas… hopefully it gets better by then, but maybe I’ll give you a ring when I am back in New Jersey

    • Dr. Chris
      Posted at 19:19h, 27 July Reply

      Sounds like a plan Sunny.

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