Skip to Main Content

Welcome to

Together is a new resource for anyone affected by pediatric cancer - patients and their parents, family members, and friends.

Learn More

Importance of Hamstring Flexibility

Hamstring muscles

The hamstring muscles are a group of muscles on the back of the thigh. They go from the back of the knee up to the buttocks. These muscles help to bend the knee and to straighten the hip. They help with posture and hold you upright when you stand and walk.  

Why hamstring flexibility is important

It is important for your child’s hamstrings to be flexible. These muscles are likely to get tight when children are inactive or if they spend a lot of time sitting or in bed.

Tight hamstrings can lead to pain, injury, and problems doing daily activities. When the hamstrings are tight, they pull on the tailbone and tuck it up under the spine. This flattens the lower back and bends the knees. This affects posture, standing, and walking balance. It can cause lower back pain and increase your child’s risk for injury.

Signs of tight hamstrings

If your child cannot sit on the floor with their legs straight in front of them without bending their knees or leaning back, their hamstrings are likely tight. To loosen them, do the stretches your physical therapist gave you. Make sure your child does these stretches as told.  

Boy stretching hamstring

If your therapist notices that you have tight hamstring muscles, they can help you decide which stretches to do.

Hamstring stretches

A physical therapist can help you choose the right stretches for your child. Some of the stretches may be yoga poses. The stretches your child does are slow. They hold the stretch for a certain period of time. If the stretch is done correctly, your child will feel a pull on the back of their thigh and behind the knee. But they should not feel pain. 

Key Points

  • The hamstring is the muscle on the back of the thigh. It helps bend the knee and straighten the hip, and is important for standing, walking, and posture.
  • Children with cancer or illness often have tight hamstrings from long periods of sitting or lying in bed.
  • Hamstring stretches can help prevent tightness and pain. Work with a physical therapist to choose the best stretches for your child.

Reviewed: September 2022