Back of Leg (Hamstring Pain)
The hamstrings are the group of muscles that are located on the back of our thigh; there are 3 of them and they work together to do several things: bend the knee, extend the hip and rotate the lower leg.
The hamstrings are about 70% as strong as the quadriceps muscles (the muscles on the front side of the leg) and they have a tendency to be tighter since they are placed on “slack” when we sit so have more
opportunity to become tight. Because they are “weaker” and “tighter” they are more prone to injury and are a major contributor to other ailments (back pain, hip pain, calf pain, leg pain).
A hamstring strain is when the hamstring muscle is torn; tears range from very minor to severe. The greater the strain the more severe the pain will be as well as the amount of dysfunction (inability to use) will be. Common symptoms of hamstring strains are localized pain in the muscles, increased pain with bending the knee against resistance, climbing stairs or inclines, going from sitting to standing and pain with straightening the leg. Depending on the severity of the stain, it can take 6-8+ weeks to fully heal.
Hamstring strains take a while to overcome due to the fact that we use them so much and they are naturally tighter and weaker. If you have a strain, begin by controlling the inflammation/pain with an anti-inflammatory and ice and begin to gently stretch it. For more information contact one of our therapists at the Institute of Physical Therapy. They can provide you with a FREE pain assessment and give you more direction.
Radiating Leg Pain
Pain that radiates down the leg can stem from several things, two being muscular issues or nerve involvement. Sciatica is a very common condition that plagues many people. It occurs when the sciatic nerve become irritated by the muscle, adjacent joints or injury to a disc. Common symptoms are radiating leg pain (pain that travels down the leg); this pain can go all the way to the foot or stop somewhere in the back of the leg. Common symptoms are radiating leg pain, pain that increases after prolonged sitting, going from a sitting to standing position, climbing us stairs or an incline, increased symptoms with certain body positions and decreased pain at rest. It is important to rule out the cause of the pain so that the appropriate treatment can be determined. A major cause of sciatica or other posterior leg pain stems from hamstring tightness. The sciatic nerves lies below the hamstrings so if the hamstrings (or other muscles) are overly tight, they place pressure on the nerve irritating it. If this is the case, treatment becomes a bit more simple than spine or disk involvement. If you are suffering from leg pain, contact one of our therapists at the Institute of Physical Therapy. They can provide you with a FREE pain assessment and give you more direction.