Exercises in the lying position should be done on a firm surface (e.g., a board on the bed, a treatment table, or the floor, with a thin pad or folded blanket placed on the hard surface for comfort).
Stretching exercises should be preceded by gentle heat and massage to help relax tight muscles. (Avoid using heat on weak, overstretched muscles.) Stretching should be done gradually, with a conscious effort to relax. Continue until a firm, but tolerable "pull" is felt, breathing comfortably while holding the stretch, then return slowly from the stretched position.
Strengthening exercises should also be done slowly, with an effort to feel a strong "pull" by the muscles being exercised. Hold the completed position for several seconds, then relax and repeat the exercise the number of times indicated by your therapist.
To stretch right hamstrings, lie on table with legs extended. Hold left leg down and gradually raise right leg with knee straight. (Reverse the procedure to stretch left Hamstrings.)
Sit on a stool with back against wall. Keep one knee bent and straighten other leg. A stretch should be felt under the knee and along Hamstring muscles.
Passive Seated Hamstring and Calf Stretch (with towel assist)
Sitting in chair, place one leg on stool or chair seat of same height, keeping knee supported.
You will feel a "pull" in the back of your thigh. (To add a stretch to the calf muscle, place a towel or strap around the ball of the foot and slowly pull foot toward you.) Hold for_seconds. Repeat_times.
Lie on floor by an indoor doorway. Place one leg out straight on the floor inside the doorway with the other in a position of straight leg raise, resting the heel against the doorframe. As muscles relax, move closer to the doorframe, raising the leg higher and giving an added stretch to the Hamstrings.
Active Hamstring Stretch (with towel assist) Lying on back on firm, but padded surface, use towel to pull thigh to slightly less than vertical position (80 degrees), keeping upper arms resting supported at your side. Straighten knee until you feel a "pull" in the back of your thigh and knee. Hold for_seconds. Repeat_times.
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