High Hamstring Tendinopathy – The hamstring muscle groups play a crucial role in the performance of an athlete, especially runners. These muscle groups are put into overdrive during competitive sports and hence they are more prone to injuries. One such injury to the hamstring muscle group is High Hamstring Tendinopathy which is inflammation of the tendons at the hamstrings. This type of injury is pretty rare but is a tough condition to treat and can be severely discomforting.
In this article, we will discuss about:
- What is High Hamstring Tendinopathy?
- Causes of High Hamstring Tendinopathy
- Symptoms of High Hamstring Tendinopathy
- How is High Hamstring Tendinopathy Diagnosed
- Treatments for High Hamstring Tendinopathy
- Exercises for High Hamstring Tendinopathy
What Is High Hamstring Tendinopathy?
The group of the hamstrings muscles is extremely crucial for athletes, especially runners as their performance is based on how well shaped their hamstring muscles are. The hamstring muscles flex the knee and facilitate hip extension, which implies that they play an important part in the gait cycle of an individual. While the most common hamstring injury is a hamstring strain or rupture, at times the tendons get inflamed due to overuse or excessive strain causing a condition called as High Hamstring Tendinopathy. It is also known by the name of Proximal Hamstring Tendonitis. This injury is pretty rare but it is also very difficult to treat and can become chronic.
What Are The Causes Of High Hamstring Tendinopathy?
To understand the cause of High Hamstring Tendinopathy, one should understand where actually the hamstring muscles are. The hamstrings muscles begin from the top of tibia from behind the knee and runs along the back part of the thigh towards the pelvis. One branch of it is attached to the femur and the remaining branches attach to the pelvis, passing through the back of the thigh, at the ischial tuberosity. This junction that is between the tendons of hamstrings and the ischial tuberosity is the area which is affected due to High Hamstring Tendinopathy.
What Are The Symptoms Of High Hamstring Tendinopathy?
With High Hamstring Tendinopathy, there will be a sensation of an aching discomfort high on the hamstrings and deep within the buttocks. The individual will feel pain when running at a fast pace. At times, the sciatic nerve which is near the ischial tuberosity also gets inflamed resulting in pain radiating down the back of the thigh. Additionally, the affected individual may find it tough to sit on hard surfaces and may cause pain. Palpation directly over the ischial tuberosity may also elicit discomfort.
How Is High Hamstring Tendinopathy Diagnosed?
In order to diagnose High Hamstring Tendinopathy, researchers have come up with three tests which can confirm the diagnosis:
A simple standing hamstring stretch can be done in which the individual is asked to place the leg on a support at the waist level and then asked to stretch the hamstrings and observe for pain or discomfort.
The second method is termed as Assisted Hamstring Stretch in which the individual is asked to lie on the beck and asked to keep the hip and knee flexed. Then, the knee is gradually straightened so as to stretch the hamstrings and observe for pain or discomfort.
The Third method is the same as the second one but this time the knee is straightened quickly as opposed to slowly with the second method. If pain or discomfort is present, then that confirms the presence of High Hamstring Tendinopathy.
Apart from the above mentioned methods, an MRI can be done to look for tendon thickening, rupture or inflammation.
What Are Treatments For High Hamstring Tendinopathy?
Once the diagnosis of High Hamstring Tendinopathy is confirmed by the above methods and radiological studies, the treating physician would assess the strength, flexibility of the hamstrings, and pelvic stability of the individual.
Some researchers believe that corticosteroid injections and extracorporeal shockwave therapy can be helpful but in retrospect these treatments significantly weaken the tendons. A corticosteroid injection given in the tissues surrounding the inflamed tendon is known to be quite beneficial
In rare, cases, surgery may be required to repair the inflamed tendons.
Exercises For High Hamstring Tendinopathy
Apart from the above treatments certain exercises are also suggested to treat High Hamstring Tendinopathy. These exercises are:
Double Leg Glute Bridge: To do this exercise, keep the head on the floor with the heels touching the floors. Now, raise the hips off the ground using the hamstrings till the hips come at the level of the thighs. Repeat this about to or three times.
Gentle Hamstring Stretching: To do this exercise, sit on the floor keeping both legs straight. Now, extend the arms and try and reach forward as far as possible by bending at the waist and keeping the knees straight. Maintain this position for about 15 seconds. Come back to the starting position and then repeat this exercise.
Front Plank: Lie on the stomach with elbows close to the sides directly under the shoulders. The palms should be facing downwards. Now, engage the abdominal muscles. There will be a sensation of tightness around the ribs and lower part of the body. Now, contract the thigh muscles and straighten the legs and flex the ankles. Now, slowly lift the torso and thighs off the floor. The legs need to be kept as rigid as possible. Try maintaining this position for about 10 seconds.
Standing Hamstring "Catch": To do this exercise, try and lift one leg perpendicular to the ground in a supine position; now, making sure that the leg and the foot do not turn outward drop the leg attempting to stop the lower leg going into full extension by contracting the hamstrings. Do this for both legs.