The hamstrings are a group of large muscles that include the Semimembranosus, Semitendinosus and Biceps Femoris, which are located at the back of the thigh. These muscles play a major role in gait (walking), running and many other activities that require flexion of the knee and extension of the hip.
A tendon is a band of connective tissue which attaches the muscle to the bone. In hamstring tendinopathy the tendon becomes sensitised to load and movement. It is commonly an overuse injury related to; an increased training load, training errors, an increase in physical activity or as an indirect result of another injury or deficiency.
Signs Of Hamstring Tendinopathy
- A gradual, developing pain in the knee joint or buttock region which can be pulsating, sharp, aching and persistent.
- Lingering pain or pain upon activity around the thigh area or gluteal region including the hip and pelvis.
- Activity related pain which often eases with warm up initially but as the condition deteriorates the pain stays during activity and may last long after the activity has ceased.
- Pain sitting, especially around the sit bones.
How Can Physiotherapy Alleviate These Symptoms?
Hamstring tendinopathy is associated with loading of the tendon so it is essential that you modify your activities correctly and follow an appropriate exercise prescription to get better. Your physiotherapist will evaluate your current exercise regime to keep you as active as possible within the limits of the condition. You will then need to follow a tendon loading program to work the affected tendon to stimulate change, whilst not overloading it. Working with an expert is essential to achieve the correct exercise balance.
In addition to exercises to specifically address the hamstring tendon, any other predisposing factors need to be taken into consideration. This will include pelvic stability, gluteal power and function, foot posture and lower limb movement patterns. Any deficits in these areas should be addressed as part of your rehabilitation program.
It is important that once you suspect that you have a hamstring tedinopathy you start the process of recovery promptly as the longer you wait, the further it progresses.
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