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Hamstring Muscle – Biceps Femoris Muscle: Knee, Thigh Pain

Pain Pattern of the biceps femoris

Pain in the back of the knee going up the outside of the thigh that worsens when walking can indicate bicep femoris muscle dysfunction.

  • Pain in the back of the knee
  • Pain toward the outside of the knee going up the outside of the thigh
  • Pain worsens while walking
  • Pain in the back of the leg when rising from a sitting position
  • Persistent sitting can cause pain in the front thigh and deep in the buttock
  • Pain is often experienced while sleeping

Where is the biceps femoris muscle?

The biceps femoris is in the back of the thigh and connects the pelvis (ischial tuberosity) to the head of the shin bone (fibula) of the lower leg. It is one of 3 hamstring muscles.

What movements do the biceps femoris muscle control?

  • Bends the knee
  • Twists the bent knee out away from the body
  • Lifts the leg out behind the body

Activities that cause biceps femoris muscle pain and symptoms:

  • Sitting for long periods of time
  • Sitting on a chair with a small seat in which the edge puts pressure on the thigh
  • Sitting on a hard surface putting pressure on the hamstrings
  • Poorly conditioned athletes frequently injure the hamstrings
  • Football
  • Soccer
  • Swimming
  • Cycling

Interesting facts about the biceps femoris muscle:

  • Like the biceps in the arm, the biceps femoris splits into two heads, the short head, and the long head. The short head of the muscle is absent in some people.
  • A braking action of the biceps femoris along the other hamstring help keep the body from falling forward when standing or moving.
Biceps Femoris Muscle

You use the biceps femoris muscle when you bend your knee, twist your knee away from your body and straighten your thigh.

Clinical diagnoses to which the biceps femoris muscle symptoms may contribute:

  • L5 radiculopathy
  • Bruised ischial tuberosity
  • Cauda equina syndrome
  • Deep vascular thrombosis (DVT)

Other muscles that should be considered and examined in conjunction with the biceps femoris muscle:

Satellite Trigger Points: Semimembranosus, Semitendinosus, Adductor Magnus, Iliopsoas, Quadriceps, Quadratus Lumborum, Paraspinals, Rectus Abdominis, Gastrocnemius

Associated Organ System: Genitourinary System

For anatomy information: Biceps Femoris Anatomy: Origin, Insertion, Action, Innervation

Help with Biceps Femoris  Hamstring Muscle Pain

Cold Therapy Gel For Biceps Femoris Injury and Pain

Biofreeze Pain Relieving Gel is an excellent pain relieving gel and I recommend it for those who have sudden onset muscle pain or recent injuries.  It is better to use than warm therapy gels and creams for muscle pain caused by inflammation as it cools the area much like ice. A recent study showed that Biofreeze decreased pain 2 times more than ice and the pain relief lasts 9 – 10 longer. If your pain is from a recently pulled or torn biceps femoris muscle I would recommend Biofreeze.

Biofreeze is recommended for recent bicep femoris muscle injury

Cold Pack For Hamstring Muscles

The Pro Ice Quad Multipurpose Cold Therapy Wrap is a good choice to provide cold therapy to both quadriceps and hamstring injuries. The wrap not only provides a consistent temperature but also provides compression which is important for reducing swelling and aiding in faster recovery.

cold pack for biceps femoris muscle injury

Hot and Cold Multipurpose Wrap For Thigh and Knee Pain

The Hot Thermal and Ice Cold Compress Therapy Gel Pack Wrap is adjustable and is a great choice for a multipurpose pack to use on your thighs, knees, hip, and back.  The pack can be put in the freezer and used for cold therapy on recently injured muscles to reduce pain and swelling. The pack can also be put in the microwave for warm therapy for chronic pain and stiffness. Solid quality construction that will last for a long time. Made in the USA

Cold Hot Pack For Biceps Femoris Injury Treatment

Warm Therapy Gel for Bicep Femoris Hamstring Muscle Pain

Sombra Warm Therapy Pain Relieving Gel is a pain relieving gel that I use both personally and in my massage therapy practice. It provides warmth without burning heat and is great for relieving pain. Applying Sombra to the muscles on the outside of the back of the thigh and knee can help reduce pain and tightness caused by the biceps femoris muscle. I recommend Sombra for chronic pain and chronically sore tight hamstring muscles.

Sombra Warm Therapy Gel provides pain relief.

Braces and Supports To Help Biceps Femoris Injury and Pain

McDavid Groin Strap is recommended for high hamstring and groin pulls. This strap works well for people who have pulled a hamstring muscle up high near the buttocks. The strap in addition to the knee brace gives support along the length of the muscle. The strap has an adjustable Velcro closure so you can adjust the pressure as needed.

McDavid groin strap for high hamstring pulls

Knee Brace for Biceps Femoris Hamstring Knee Pain

The biceps femoris muscle can contribute to stiff painful knees. The Professional Choice Knee Support is one of the best knee braces I have used. It provides support to weak buckling and painful knees while providing heat to help keep the muscle, ligaments, tendons and joint mobile. The two Velcro bands are adjustable and provide compression for the muscle to bone connection of the biceps femoris muscle.  Although it looks bulky, it is comfortable and was made for people who ride horses who bend and straighten their knees for extended periods of time. It does not bind or pinch. If you are prone to knee injury and buckling knees I highly recommend this brace.

Professionals Choice Knee Brace for biceps femoris knee pain

Compression Leggings for Hamstring and Upper Leg Muscle Support

Compression wear is not just preventative wear for exercise. Compression wear can also aid in muscle injury support and reduce swelling during recovery time. If you are considering compression wear look for graduated compression. Graduated compression provides tight compression at the lower end of your limb and gradually decreases compressive force toward the top of the limb. This is important for circulation and inflammation reduction. To properly support the hamstring muscles the leggings need to not only cover the thigh but must also go down past the knee as the hamstring muscles connect the pelvis to the bones in the lower leg. Compression leggings for men as well compression leggings for women come in all sizes, have a choice of colors and are available in various price points. Can be worn alone or under pants.

Massage Tools for Self Treatment of the Hamstring Muscles

I recommend The Tiger Tail 18" Roller to use on both upper and lower leg muscles to help relieve tension and pain. I like the Tiger Tail for its ease of use and because it does not strain the wrists and hands. You do not have to contort into different positions or get on the floor or up against the wall to use this foam roller, simply roll it up or down the muscle. The 18" is a good size to use on leg muscles as well as other muscles. This roller is also recommended by physical therapists, athletic trainers, and doctors for self-treatment of muscles in between appointments. To use the Tiger Tail on the hamstring muscles start just below the buttock, and roll down the back of the thigh stopping before you reach the back of the knee (NEVER use the roller on the back of the knee, it may cause nerve damage). Cover the entire back of the leg including just to the inside and outside of the thigh. Start with light strokes for a minute or two and build more pressure and more time. Do not overdo as you can irritate the muscles!


Find and Treat the Source Of Your Hamstring Pain

Do you know that small knots and other dysfunction in the biceps femoris muscle can contribute to aching pain in the knee and can make it difficult to stand from a sitting position?

If this pain pattern sounds familiar I recommend that you purchase Claire Davies  The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief. Mr. Davies explains the trigger point phenomenon and muscle pain in everyday language.  But what makes this book worth its weight in gold are the individual muscle trigger point treatments that Davies has compiled. His diagrams and step by step instructions help you locate which muscles are contributing to your pain,  how to find the trigger point and treat it.  It takes time and practice to master finding trigger points, but once you learn you have a tool and method to help relieve muscle pain throughout the body.  If you have unresolved pain in the back of the knee it maybe trigger points in the biceps femoris muscles. Deactivating trigger points can reduce or eliminate this pain. This book is a must-have for anyone interested in finding the cause and treating muscle pain.

The Trigger Point Workbook can help you resolve muscle pain throughout your body.

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