Ways to Avoid Hamstring Injuries

By S.F. Heron

Hamstrings form the group of large muscles lining the back of the upper thigh. Football and basketball players aren't the only athletes who can get sidelined by hamstring strains. It can happen to golfers, too. These strong muscles help us bend the knee as well as move the leg backward. One step backward on the course with a weakened hamstring can sideline your golf game. Muscles need to be flexible to respond to the demands of any activity. Prevent hamstring injuries by performing regular stretching, wearing proper footwear, hydrating and allowing for warm-up and cool-down times.

Proper Footwear

You might be attached to your old golf shoes. Whether they provide a stroke of good luck, these favorite shoes might be adding to tenderness along the back of the thigh. Wearing shoes that offer proper supportive while golfing protects the hamstrings as well as the lower back--especially if you're walking 18 holes. Because most sports injuries can be called "overuse" injuries, protect your body with the best cushioning equipment possible, beginning with your feet. Be conscious of wearing the correct shoes when performing other activities as well.

Water

Bright sunshine, a slight breeze and a can of beer might be your idea of the perfect day on the course. However, four hours later, your body is dehydrated from sweating and heat exposure. Hydrate your body well before stepping on the green. Drink plenty of fluids every 24 hours to keep you feeling your best. Drink 60 to 80 oz. of water each day, and supplement times of high activity with a sports drink and additional water consumption.

Warm-up and Cool-down

Stretch and jog lightly for 10 minutes before hitting the course. Do jumping jacks, jump rope, run in place and stretch to increase flexibility. Hamstring injuries involve a lack of flexibility in the muscle. Exercise preparedness offers golfers the best way to avoid an overused muscle. Even if you think you don't use your hamstrings, consider your swing mechanics. Hamstring muscle activation occurs during a golf swing when weight transfers from one leg to the other during your follow-through. By warming up and doing a cool-down, you can protect your muscles from injury, increase your flexibility and maybe even improve your game.

Hamstring Stretches

Add hamstring stretches to your warm-up and cool-down routine. Sit on the floor and extend both legs forward. Lean forward with both hands toward the feet. Move slowly as you reach toward the toes and hold the stretch for five seconds. Release and repeat five to 10 times. Stand up, with your feet placed shoulder-width apart, and place one foot on a raised surface such as a chair seat or step. Lean forward slowly, stretching the hands toward the foot. Hold for a 10 count, release and repeat five times for each leg. Don't bounce or jerk during this movement. Try to stretch the hamstrings every day to improve overall muscle flexibility.

Photo Credits

  • Jenna Winkeller/Demand Media
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