Hamstring Tendinitis

Pain, injury, or rupture of the hamstring muscle very often comes from having a short flexor muscle group. This is why it is so important to stretch the hamstrings before exercising, especially if you enjoy sports that involve lots of running.

An injury of the hamstrings can occur when the tight muscle is suddenly overstretched (hyperextension), or when the muscle is stressed beyond its capacity for a longer period of time, albeit to a lesser degree than might result in a sudden injury. If someone “pulls their hamstrings” often, it may be due to biomechanical malalignments of the lower limb, particularly those that lead to excessive internal rotation of the leg, as well as functional or structural limb length discrepancies, genu valgum (“knock knees”), or pelvic tilting (due to weak gluteus medius muscles, for example). In cases of increased functional tibial rotation (or torsion of the bone itself), there will be stretching and twisting of the origin of the hamstring (where it attaches to the pelvis) and its insertion (behind the knee), particularly towards the end of the propulsive phase of the running gait cycle. Overstriding, taking bigger steps that the muscle can safely accommodate, can also increase the stress on the muscle. Tight quadriceps muscles often play a role in developing this condition, as they may overpower the hamstrings.

Injury will result in tightness of the muscle along with pain. In cases where the muscle has ruptured, either partly or completely, there will be swelling, bruising, more pain, and possible loss of function (being unable to walk or stand).

In cases of reoccurring or chronic hamstring tendinitis, the following treatments or therapies may be helpful:

  1. A biomechanical/MSK assessment for in-shoe orthotic devices to improve foot, ankle and lower limb function.
  2. A stretching regime to aid recovery and to prevent reinjury.
  3. Change of activity, such as reducing intensity or duration of training, or professional coaching by a sports therapist, physiotherapist.
  4. Acupuncture for pain relief.
  5. Therapeutic taping or strapping to aid recovery and prevent reinjury.
  6. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen or paracetamol can be used for pain relief, as can topical treatments such as Biofreeze or Deep Heat.
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