Injury Prevention: Hamstrings & Calves
If you are like the majority, whether it is at work, in the car, on the computer, or at home in front of the TV, you spend most of your time in a sitting position. Unfortunately, overtime this creates tightness in the back of the thigh and leg, which can lead to problems with walking and running, or even chronic low back pain. In the human body, we find that muscles connect to bones, which connect to other muscles, and so on, creating muscle chains that distribute tension throughout the body. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, and when it comes to the posterior part of the body, this lower region is consistently the weak link in terms of elasticity.
Hamstring and Calves stretch:
- Sit in a chair facing another chair or stool in front of you.
- Place one leg up on the stool or chair.
- Straighten your knee and bend your ankle up, your toes pointing towards you.
- Gently and slowly start to bend forward to touch your toes with the arm on the same side as the leg that is up.
- Stop once you feel a good stretch in the back of the leg and thigh.
- Hold this for about 30 seconds.
- Return to a normal seated position and then repeat steps 2-6 for the opposite leg.
Perform this stretch 1-2 times per day when first starting out. When performing this stretch, you will feel tension in the back of the thigh and in the calf muscles. Many times, knee and ankle problems will improve with this stretch. Don’t worry about reaching the toes, worry about proper posture and feeling the pull in the back of the leg. As stated before, stretching should be part of a routine for wellness in order to function as prevention, that means do this daily in the beginning, and then at least twice a week once you’ve been performing this stretch for at least 6 weeks. Muscles take time to stretch, so listen to your body and advance in your stretching intensity at a speed that is challenging yet comfortable.
Dr. Jimmy Greer
Chiropractor at Vida Everett