What is Hamstring Tendonitis?
Hamstring tendonitis is an injury that occurs when the tendon becomes damaged or inflamed due to excessive strain or force being placed on the tendon. The Hamstring tendon is the soft tissue which connects the hamstring muscle to the outer aspect of the knee.
- Overuse injury common in running and jumping activities
- Excessive speed changing whilst running
- Insufficient warm up exercise
- Poor core strength
- Pain at the back of the knee and thigh which increases over time
- Pain when resuming activity
- Swelling and inflammation
- Aching and stiffness after activity
- RICE method
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Taping and strapping techniques
- Steroid injection
A doctor can diagnose hamstring tendonitis through an MRI scan or X-ray. They will then assess the injury and advise on treatment needed.
How Long Does It Take For A Hamstring Tendon To Heal?
Up to 10 days for a minor injury, up to 6 weeks for a moderate injury and up to 10 weeks for a severe injury. Recovery will be dependent on how serious your hamstring tendonitis is and what course of treatment you have been advised.
How Do You Treat Sore Hamstring Tendons?
The RICE method, anti-inflammatories, stretching and strengthening exercises can help to treat a sore hamstring tendon.
Can Hamstring Tendonitis Cause Sciatica?
An affected hamstring tendon may irritate the sciatic nerve and cause sciatica like symptoms in the leg. To properly diagnose sciatica, it is advised that you see a doctor.
Back Of Knee Pain
If you are experiencing back of knee pain, then you may have a hamstring strain. This occurs when the muscle is over stretched and you will feel a sudden pain if you have injured your hamstring.
The most common cause of hamstring tendonitis is through overuse, particularly in patients who partake in running and jumping sports. This is also common in sports such as football due to the rapid changing of speed which is undergone whilst running.
Although this injury is typically seen as a result of overuse, hamstring tendonitis can also occur suddenly if the tendon becomes over stretched for example when warm-up exercises have been missed out or are inadequate for the level of activity, causing the patient to over strain the hamstring whilst performing running, kicking, jumping or skipping movements.
Individuals who have just started exercising or have increased their level of fitness are also at risk of sustaining this injury as they may lack strength and flexibility need for their new level of activity.
Patients who suffer hamstring tendonitis are likely to feel pain in the back of the knee which gradually becomes more apparent through continued activity. This is due to the tendon becoming inflamed and swollen and in more severe cases; this pain and swelling can be felt in the thigh and calf muscles. When the injury is caused by sudden pressure or force to the tendon, pain will usually come on suddenly at the point of injury.
Patients are likely to feel aching and stiffness which becomes more apparent first thing in the morning and often the knee joint will feel a weak, making the patient unable to resume activity.
In order to diagnose hamstring tendonitis, a doctor or physiotherapist will give an examination of the area. Often a doctor will carry out and X-ray or MRI scan in order to confirm the diagnosis and also to rule out any further complications.
In order to treat hamstring tendonitis, rest is crucial in order to allow the injury time to heal and to prevent any further activity which could cause damage or discomfort to the injury. Applying ice to the injury is an important aspect of healing as it will reduce any swelling and inflammation as well as providing cooling pain relief to the injury. Using the RICE method (rest, ice, compression and elevation) is beneficial for the first 72 hours of the injury occurring as it will reduce swelling to the area and by keeping the injury elevated blood flow is restricted which can prevent further inflammation.
Anti-inflammatory medications can also be taken in order to reduce swelling as well as relieving pain or achiness from the injury.
Taping and strapping techniques are often used for hamstring injuries as they can help stabilise and support the area whilst relieving pressure. Some athletes find it beneficial to continue with these methods after recovery to prevent a re occurrence of the condition.
When the injury has begun healing and you are advised by a physiotherapist or doctor, it is important for the patient to undergo a rehabilitation program such as strengthening and stretching exercises which will keep the area strong and make it easier to return to sports once the injury has fully recovered. These exercises should not be carried out if the patient feels pain in the area and the advice of a physiotherapist should always be sought in order to obtain an exercise regime suitable for the individual.
For severe cases of hamstring tendonitis and when other treatments have been unsuccessful, steroid drug injections may be used to reduce inflammation and help ease any pain however these must only be used as a last resort as they hold a risk of weakening the tendon which can lead to a rupture in the long term.
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