Do you have lateral knee pain, restless leg syndrome, plantar fasciitis, low back pain or get hamstring cramps after sitting too long?
This post is for YOU!What do all of these things have in common? The HAMSTRING fascia.
When our hamstring fascia gets too restricted laterally (that biceps femoris fascia can often get stuck to the IT Band fascia), it can pull on the patella (kneecap), causing lateral knee pain.
If you have lateral knee pain, my recommendation is to use this technique in conjunction with my calf release for knee pain. You’ll want to find the lateral tightness more-so than the belly of the hamstrings. Note in the video where I place the ball. You’ll want to copy that!
If your entire hamstrings are really tight, this can pull on all the calf tissue causing “restless leg syndrome” (which I believe is just that fascia feeling cramped and getting tugged on).
If you have restless leg syndrome, this is my #1 go-to technique for you:
Use that ball EVERYWHERE you find “tender” spots in the hamstrings: from just above the knee (make sure your knee feels safe the whole time!) all the way to below your hip, as well as centrally to laterally. It’s all up for grabs. Once you’ve done this, then release your calves and you should get a LOT of relief.
If you have plantar fasciitis, the hamstrings can also play a role. This won’t be my primary technique for you, but it can be a powerful addition to my ONE stretch for everything calf related, including PF. Especially if you have HEEL PAIN.
If you get hamstring cramps from sitting too long, this can be a very useful tool for helping your hamstrings chill out.
If you tend to get “pulled” hamstrings, or feel like you have “tight” hamstrings but they don’t cramp, try my quad release technique first. Often it isn’t the hamstrings that are the problem, so I like to rule that out first before going to whatever feels tight or is getting your attention (where the pain is is almost NEVER the problem).
Similarly, if you have low back pain, please try the quad technique FIRST. The hamstrings will often tighten up as a RESPONSE to what is causing the low back pain, especially with sciatica. It is not part of the problem, it is trying to fight a losing battle on your behalf to keep the pelvis balanced against forces far more powerful (typically the quads, ITB or adductors).
If you have sciatica and it is shooting down one leg through your hamstrings, resist the temptation to go where the pain is and DO NOT DO THIS TECHNIQUE. Do the quad release first.
How to get the most out of this technique:
- Get creative and do whatever you have to do to put WEIGHT on top of that ball. Someone already wrote me and said she used her husband’s toolbox! If you have access to a gym and can use a barbell plate, great. If not…look around your house for something heavy (nothing dangerous of course!)
- Do your movements SLOWLY. If you go too fast, no change really happens because your brain doesn’t register it. And you might miss an important spot!
- Don’t be afraid to try different locations for the ball. If it doesn’t hurt or feel tender, then it’s probably not too tight. Typically, the tightest fascia is in the lateral part of the hamstring where it meets the IT Band. But that might not be true for you! So get curious about YOUR body. And…it might change week by week!
- FLEX YOUR FOOT (dorsiflexion for you fellow nerds, or in plain English: pull your ankle and toes towards your shin). This pulls the fascial system tight so you get the best stretch. If your foot is flopping around, you’ll get a floppy result.
- If you have low back or mid back pain, have someone else put the weight on your lap!
- Do this for about 30 seconds to a minute PER SPOT you find, maybe 5 minutes total.
Give this a try and let me know what you think. If you have comments or questions don’t hesitate to add them below or contact me. If you dig it, if it works for you, SHARE this post and spread the love!