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Leg Stretches

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Updated November 06, 2007

Many people suffer from symptoms of tight leg muscles. A common cause of leg tightness is related to the amount of time we spend sitting during the work day. As our knees are bent in this position, the muscles that flex the knee joint become used to being in this shortened position.

Tight leg muscles can predispose one to injury during daily and recreational activities as well as contribute to the development of back pain. To prevent this, it is important to perform leg stretching exercises to loosen tight muscles.

Performing daily leg stretches is one activity that should be incorporated into your daily routine. The benefits of stretching are many and have been proven through various studies over time. Review the following leg stretches below and add them to your daily stretching regimen:

  • Groin Stretches:
    Gentle stretching of the inner muscles of the thigh can help prevent groin strains. Groin strains occurs when the muscles of the inner thighs are stretched beyond their normal length. This results in tears within the muscle that cause pain and inflammation.
  • Quadricep Stretches:
    The quadriceps are four muscles located in the anterior thigh. This muscle group acts to extend the leg while straightening the knee. Running and biking, as well as daily activities, can result in tight quadricep muscles.
  • Knee Stretches:
    The knee is the most commonly injured joint in all age groups. It is especially susceptible to damage during athletic activities and exercise. However, stretching and strengthening the muscles and tendons of the knee joint can help reduce injury.
  • Calf Stretches:
    When calf muscles become tight, the risk of muscle or Achille's tendon tears and injury increases. For this reason, it is important to stretch tight calf muscles.

Sources:

American Family Physician, Vol. 71/No. 8, Iliotibial Band Syndrome.

American Family Physician, Vol. 60/No. 3, Flexibility Exercise Can Decrease Overuse Leg Injuries.

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