By Dr Tony Setiobudi BMedSci, MBBS, MRCS, MMed (Ortho), FRCS (Ortho)

The hamstring is a group of 3 muscles called semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and biceps femoris. A hamstring injury occurs when the hamstring muscles, which affect one or more of the muscle groups, tear or are strained. It happens when the hamstrings are overstretched or overloaded with too much weight.

These muscles, which are located at the back of the thigh, help bend your knees during activities like jumping or running. Therefore, the hamstring injury is most common in athletes that involve a lot of sprinting or start-and-stop movements such as football, soccer, or basketball players.

The symptoms of a torn hamstring depends on the severity of the injury. You might experience sudden sharp pain, swelling, bruising, tenderness, partial or complete weakness in your leg.

Stretching is good for overall health, as it improves flexibility and prevents injury. Regularly doing stretching and strengthening exercises, and warming up before exercise, may help reduce the risk of injuring your hamstring. Stretching the hamstrings will help to keep these muscles loose and flexible, which will improve posture, increase flexibility, and prevent lower back pain.

Here are some hamstring stretches that you can follow along at home.

Dr Tony Setiobudi is an Orthopaedic & Spine Surgeon at Mount Elizabeth Hospital (Orchard), Singapore. He treats bone, joint, muscle and ligament problems in adults and children. He has a special interest in nerve compression and spine problems such as back & neck pain, scoliosis, kyphosis, spine tumor & infection, spinal cord injury, osteoporosis fracture, spinal stenosis and slipped disc.