- The prominent tendons at the back of the knee. They are the sidewalls of the hollow behind the knee. (This hollow is called the popliteal space). Both hamstrings connect to muscles that flex the knee. A pulled hamstring is a common athletic injury. The "ham" of "hamstring" comes from an Old Teutonic word "ham" meaning crooked. This is in reference to the crooked part of the leg, that is the knee. To "hamstring" someone is to cripple them. See Hamstring Injuries and the Hamstring Stretch to prevent hamstring injuries.
* * *1. One of the tendons bounding the popliteal space on either side; the medial h. comprises the tendons of the semimembranosus and semitendinosus muscles; the lateral h. is the tendon of the biceps femoris muscle. H. muscles (a) have origin from the ischial tuberosity, (b) act across (at) both the hip and knee joints (producing extension and flexion, respectively), and (c) are innervated by the tibial portion of the sciatic nerve. The medial h. contributes to medial rotation of the leg at the flexed knee joint, while the lateral h. contributes to lateral rotation. 2. In domestic animals, the combined tendons of the superficial digital flexor, triceps surae, biceps femoris, and semitendinosus muscles which are referred to as the common calcanean tendon (tendo calcaneus communis); it is attached to the tuber calcis of the hock.
* * *ham·string 'ham-.striŋ n1 a) either of two groups of tendons bounding the upper part of the popliteal space at the back of the knee and forming the tendons of insertion of some muscles of the back of the thighb) HAMSTRING MUSCLE2) a large tendon above and behind the hock of a quadruped corresponding to the human Achilles tendonhamstring vt, -strung -.strəŋ; -string·ing -.striŋ-iŋ to cripple by cutting the leg tendons <folklore has it that wolf packs try to \hamstring their prey (John Madson)>
* * *n.any of the tendons at the back of the knee. They attach the hamstring muscles (the biceps femoris, semitendinosus, and semimembranosus) to their insertions in the tibia and fibula.
* * *ham·string (hamґstring) 1. one of the tendons that border the popliteal fossa laterally and medially. 2. pertaining to or related to these tendons; see under muscle.
Medical dictionary. 2011.