RunnerRepair Shop

 Call for a free injury screen. 


Tight hamstring muscles

OMG, what runner does NOT have tight hamstrings.  Most hamstring injuries in runners are chronic, the build-up after 10 trillion push-offs.  We seem to stretch them and the just get shorter.  When I ask a patient, “When is the last time you stretched your hamstrings?”  The answer is usually something like, ‘Well 1990…. something’.  Tight hamstrings, by themselves usually won’t bring a runner to the Repair Shop.  It is when the runner is having difficulty maintaining their previous speed and they think their hamstrings may be the guilty party.  As your hamstrings become tight, they limit your stride length and limit your speed.


History:  Most of the time you cannot remember any one accident, your hamstrings just got tight.  Hamstring injuries can also happen as the result of a trauma.   It could be the time you miscounted the steps and landed wrong or it can be a step on an uneven surface or running downhill.  


Self-Exam:  Here are some things you can look for in yourself.


  • There are several different ways you can check your hamstrings.  Here are a couple of videos to check yourself.  If 

  • HS test 1   VID
  • HS test 2   VID
  • HS test 3   VID
  • Don’t cheat.  If you check your hamstrings every way listed here and one of the three says you don’t have tight hamstrings, but the other two say your hamstrings are tight, you probably have tight hamstrings.



is exactly the same as for butt weakness on your painful knee.  Since I personally hate it when a website says ‘Go to some other location.’ I have put the treatment here again.

Manage The Pain

  • NSAIDS will help.  Use any analgesics you feel help reduce the pain in your hamstrings.

  • Knee braces usually do not help a lot.

  • Kinesiology taping to your hamstrings until your pain is under control.  LIN 

  • Continue running but avoid aggressive speed work and hill repeats, especially downhill running.

Restore full motion

  • Since the hamstrings cross over both the knee and hip joints, you may have slight limitations to these joints.  Here are two easy self-tests you can complete to test your joint mobility at the knees or hips.  VID 

  • The sequential short-term stretches to both legs and all the muscles below the hip are absolutely my favorite.  It makes sure you get all the muscles, not just the tightest of the bunch.  VID  

    1. Stretching does not have to be part of your warm-up or cool-down.  But it HAS to be part of your training program. LIN

Begin non-weight bearing exercises to restore strength without all the pressure on the joints

Correct running mechanics
Return to running speedwork and hills. 

After you have been able to run on flat ground for a week with your with your normal training and have not had any pain, you can begin to add speed and hill training to your program.

My favorite step, get back to full running! 

Have fun.  Eventually you will bust something else and be back to the website to fix that.  

If you follow the steps on the website for 2-6 weeks (depending on how badly you hurt yourself the first time and on how long you tried to ‘run through the pain’) and your problem does not resolve, then call our clinic for an appointment and we can do something Dr. Google cannot do.  We can complete a hands-on evaluation, in-person evaluation to determine the cause of your pain.


 Call for a free injury screen.