Signs You May Suffer from Chronic High Hamstring Tendinopathy (and What You Can Do)
Suffering from a deep pain in the buttocks is called chronic hamstring tendinopathy. The ailment is the result of pain that gradually escalates. The aggravation can increase through repetitive motion or prolonged sitting.
The Cause of Hamstring Tendinopathy
It is believed the condition results when acute hamstring tears are not given time to heal properly. Another factor is tendinitis (extended inflammation of the tendon), triggering degeneration of the tendon.
Hamstring muscles connect to the pelvis ischial tuberosity via three tendons at the back of the thigh. When those tendons are subjected to certain repetitive motions, elastic collagen proteins in the tendon can break down, become injured and initiate the degenerative process.
Chronic Hamstring Tendinopathy Symptoms
Here are five signs that indicate tendinopathy.
- Discomfort or pain while in a seated position that gets worse.
- Gradual pain deep at the back of the hips, buttocks or upper thighs.
- When fully bending at the waist for anything from touching toes to picking something up results in pain.
- Unexpected pain when sprinting or accelerating.
- Pain triggered or worsened by repetitive leg motion (running, biking or other physical activity).
Individuals most likely to suffer from this ailment tend to have a history of hamstring tears. The more risk factors that apply to an individual, the greater the need to manage injury to hamstring tendons, minimizing future and greater long-term injury.
Here are a list of factors that can lead to chronic high hamstring tendinopathy.
- History of hamstring tear
- Jumping and kicking
- History of lower extremity injury
- Muscle weakness
- Difficult flexibility
- Advanced age
- Muscle imbalances
Some of these factors are out of our control, such as aging. But others can be managed through physical therapy, especially lack of flexibility and muscle imbalance. If you are active, an athlete or have any pain described above, you should consult with your doctor, physical therapist or other medical professional about ways to increase flexibility in taunt muscles, enhance weak muscles, and to optimize form and alignment.
You can apply conservative and non-invasive procedures for promoting the health of hamstring muscles and reducing the risk of injury. For safety reasons, it is a good idea to not engage in any form of treatment without professional counsel.
- Rest reduces pain. Give hamstring tendons the opportunity to recover. This might require taking time off from training and cross-training or finding alternative activities.
- Applying ice and heat can reduce inflammation and pain. Use ice baths, cold packs and ice massage in 10 and 20 minute intervals after activity, or utilize two to four hours of application throughout the day. Heat and massage can loosen scarred or fibrotic tissue and, with stretching, are often recommended by therapeutic and medical professionals. There could be a combination of hot and cold treatments.
- As flexibility is a factor for hamstring tears and tendinopathy, a regimen that includes stretching can improve range of motion. Improvement may not be noticeable for a period of time. It is not unusual for months to pass before tendon pain is managed.
- Weak muscles can be strengthened under the guidance of physical therapists or medical professionals. Professional athletic training incorporates eccentric hamstring strengthening into practices to decrease the possibility of damage to the hamstring tendons. While this is a conservative approach, it can be a painful one and has to be conducted with practiced and proven technique. Again, best achieved with professional counsel.
- Certain solutions like aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen can alleviate pain and reduce inflammation. Discontinue use if there are adverse reactions, such as stomach irritation or gastrointestinal bleeding.
- Extracorporeal shock-wave therapy is performed in a doctor’s office on an outpatient basis. Probes are attached to affected areas and shock waves are delivered via an electrical charge. This can be painful, but the theory is the treatment promotes healing through improved blood flow and breaking up of fibrotic tissue.
Chronic high hamstring tendinopathy is best treated through preventative measures and guidance from a trained professional. With the above information, you are prepared to begin protecting yourself.
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