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Tight hamstring muscles are common and most of the time will not cause a problem. However they may be more prone to severe strains or contribute to other problems such as back pain.
In addition to an increased injury risk tight hamstrings may affect sports performance making some techniques difficult or impossible such as in high hurdling or martial arts techniques. Forcing a muscle to move at speed outside of its comfortable range will increase the chance of a muscle tear.
The hamstring muscles consist of the Semitendinosus, Semimembranosus and Biceps Femoris. Tight hamstrings can cause the hips and pelvis to rotate back flattening the lower back and causing back problems. Tight hamstrings can also be responsible for postural problems and other back problems such as sacroiliac joint pain, as they will tend to pull the pelvis out of normal position.
If your muscles have tightened up then blood has been squeezed out of them therefore your muscles are working at less than 100 % of capacity and your performance will be down as a result. Regular sports massage for hamstring muscles and hamstring stretching to improve muscle condition will not only reduce the likelihood of injury but may also improve sporting performance.
The 'normal' range of hip flexion (measured when laying flat on your back and raising the leg straight off the floor - knee straight) permitted by the hamstrings is in the region of 80-90 degrees. Anything less than 80 degrees is considered 'tight'.
What can I do about it?