The hamstrings are a group of 3 muscles that run down the back of the thigh. They are attached to bone by tendons at the base of the buttocks and just below the knee. The hamstring aids in flexing the knee and extending the hip and are most commonly used in sports activities that involve running, jumping and climbing. Sudden rapid movement during sports activities such as football and track can pull on the tissues of the hamstring, causing damage to the hamstring tendons and leading to hamstring tendinopathy.
Repeated stress from long distance running can overload the hamstring tendons just under the buttocks at the pelvic bone where most hamstrings originate. This leads to a persistent pain which is typically aggravated with activity, and can lead to pain when sitting or driving.
When you present with hamstring tendinopathy, your doctor will review your symptoms and activities related to the injury. A physical examination is performed to evaluate tenderness and imaging studies such as an MRI scan or ultrasound may be ordered to clearly view the muscles and tendons.
Hamstring tendinopathy is initially treated by reducing the provocative activities (such as running), and avoiding stretching of the hamstrings. Anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed. The goal of treatment is to improve strength and capacity of the tendon, and to restore function. Strengthening exercises are gradually introduced to slowly return you to your regular activity. This may take several months. Inadequate treatment and early return to sports can lead to aggravation of injury.