If your hamstring muscles are very tight, you may have noticed a tingling, itchy sensation in your feet whenever you stretch the hamstrings. This uncomfortable feeling can make you want to shake your feet out after you finish stretching. It can also deter you from wanting to stretch. This is unfortunate because stretching is exactly what you need.
In this article, we will explain why hamstring stretches can cause your feet to tingle. We will share good videos demonstrating easy hamstring stretches for you to try. We’ll also provide sound advice on loosening up your hamstrings through breathing and relaxation techniques. Read on to learn more.
What’s the connection between tight hamstrings and tingling feet?
The tibial nerve runs from the lower spine, through the hip muscles and through the hamstring muscles. Whenever you stretch these muscles, tension is applied to the nerve. If your hamstring muscles are very tight, they may inhibit movement and may compress the nerve. This can cause a tingling, itchy sensation in one foot, or in both feet.
Other problems that may cause tingly feet include:
- Vitamin and/or mineral imbalance
- Lower back injury
- Damaged nerve
To alleviate this problem, be sure that you are eating a healthy, balanced diet, and take a good multivitamin and mineral supplement daily. Get enough sleep, buy a foot stretcher, and exercise gently and regularly.
Modify your hamstring stretches to accommodate the nerve while still working to gently loosen the muscles. If your symptoms worsen or do not resolve in a reasonable amount of time, consult your doctor.
Hamstring stretches to ease tingling feet
Taking up yoga practice is one of the best ways to develop hamstring flexibility and promote overall flexibility and strength. Here are two good videos that demonstrate five simple yoga poses focusing on hamstring flexibility.
3 Yoga Poses to increase hamstrings flexibility
Two Yoga Poses you easily forget about. Anantasana / Parighasana.
Practice with these videos several times a week to improve and strengthen your hamstrings and ease tingling in your feet.
Remember to breathe
Yogic breathing is a very important part of any yoga practice, and it can enhance your performance when performing any physical task. There are many complex instructions for mastering perfect yogic breathing, but for these simple exercises it suffices to say that you should just breathe in deeply and completely and then exhale fully while you practice your stretches.
Breathe in through your nose to a slow count of 4 and then exhale fully to a slow count of 5 or 6. Pull the air deeply into your lungs and your belly. Imagine the oxygen flowing to your hamstring muscles to help them loosen up. This may sound nutty, but it really works!
This sort of deep breathing is a great skill to learn for effective stretching, meditation, relaxation and improving your performance while you are cycling, running, working with weights or performing any other exercise.
Use props and relaxation techniques
Use stretching straps, towels and yoga blocks and bolsters as you need to for support and assistance. When you use yoga props correctly, they can help you really relax into the poses to get a complete stretch. Relaxing the hamstrings while stretching helps relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve, hence reducing or eliminating tingling in the feet.
Remember to breathe deeply and relax into your stretches rather than attempting to push yourself to stretch. Relaxation therapy such as massage can be helpful.
In this video, physical therapists, Bob and Brad, demonstrate use of several types of props and provide good advice on simple hamstring stretches and easy ways to massage the hamstring muscles using a tennis ball.
How to unlock your hamstrings
What about the feet?
Tingling in your feet should resolve with consistent work on your hamstrings, but stretching, massaging and exercising your feet is always a good idea. Sometimes tightness in the feet (especially the fascia) can actually cause hamstring tightness. Here’s another smart way to use a tennis ball for relaxing, rejuvenating massage to loosen up your feet and your hamstrings.
Tight hamstrings? Don’t stretch, do this instead
Take a holistic approach
Never force your hamstrings to stretch. It takes time and patience to loosen up tight muscles and improve flexibility. This collection of tips is intended to steer you in the right direction. You don’t have to do all of the exercises every day. In fact, you shouldn’t.
Do a few at a time and alternate from one day to the next to keep your practice interesting and your progress steady. Eat and sleep well and practice your deep breathing to loosen up your hamstrings, enjoy overall health and wellness and put an end to tingly feet.