What is High Hamstring Tendinopathy?
- High Hamstring tendinopathy is an injury at the very top of your hamstring (where the leg meets the buttocks)
- Pain occurs local to that area
- Pain usually gets worse after activity, especially hill running, deep lunges, sprint training, or after a change in training routine.
- Pain can also come on when sitting or driving, and after stretching your hamstrings, for example in yoga (due to the stress on the tendon in these positions)
- It may be painful first thing in the morning or when ‘warming up’ before exercise, then the pain may disappear and return the day after exercise within 24-48 hours.
What causes the pain?
- Tendon’s can become sensitive to exercise when they are overworked or over trained.
- When the high hamstring tendon becomes sensitive it can be painful to sit on and to stretch it.
- However, once we settle the sensitivity with different treatments, we can gradually get back to normal activities and reduce pain.
6 top tips for managing high hamstring tendinopathy:
- Stop stretching your hamstrings! (this increases pain in sensitive tendons)
- Sit for as little time as possible
- Avoid other positions that stretch the hamstrings, eg lunges or squats or bending over with the legs straight temporarily, once the tendon pain settles you can build your way back to doing these safely
- Take a short period of rest from running or sport if your pain is higher than 4/10, allow 2-3 weeks, then once irritability settles you can gradually return to running (with advice from a Physiotherapist)
- Identify how much activity you can do without causing pain (eg running 2km or walking 4km) and continue at this level before building it up
- If it is too painful to run or walk, you may need to rest for longer and speak to a Physiotherapist for specific strengthening exercise advice and prescription
How do I know I’m exercising too much or slowing healing?
- If you have pain at rest during the day (when you’re not exercising)
- Severe early morning stiffness
- Pain while running/ walking
- 24-48 hours of pain after exercise
If my hamstrings feel tight, should I stretch them?
- The quick answer is no, you shouldn’t stretch them. A feeling of ‘tight’ hamstrings usually means the hamstrings are weak and need to be strengthened using specific exercises.
What else could be causing my buttock/ upper leg pain?
- Pain referred from the lumbar spine
- Hip pain
- Sacro-iliac joint pain (SIJ)
- Sciatic nerve irritation
If the 6 top tips above are not helping to settle your upper leg/ buttock pain then make an appointment with one of our Chartered Physiotherapists who will be able to diagnose the problem, give you advice on how to manage it and get you back exercising as quickly and as safely as possible.
Thanks for reading!
From all at East Coast Physio 🙂