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How do I Treat Hamstring Tendinitis?

By Patti Kate
Updated Feb 21, 2024
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An effective treatment plan for hamstring tendinitis and the associated symptoms that can occur include using ice compresses and anti-inflammatory medications and resting the affected area. A physical therapy program is also typically prescribed by the patient's physician.

Hamstring tendinitis is a condition that is characterized by pain of the affected area due to inflammation or injury of the tendons. As with any type of tendinitis, while rest is an important part of the recovery plan, you must remember not to allow the leg to remain completely immobilized for too long. If the muscles are not being used, eventually they will become 'frozen' in such a way that stiffness will prevent complete mobility and flexibility. This is one reason why sports doctors and occupational therapists recommend exercises to help strengthen the tendons and muscles.

To diagnose hamstring tendinitis, the physician will usually examine the patient and check for flexibility within the leg. He will also take note of any issues or history of problems with the affected area. If necessary, the doctor might recommend xerography, which in simple terms, means x-radiation or an x-ray of the bone. This is to be certain there are no underlying conditions present, such as arthritis or a bone tumor.

Many times tendinitis is caused by repetitive motion injuries or muscle strain. If the doctor feels there may be a significant tear in a tendon, he might suggest having a procedure known as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The MRI will provide a graphic view or image of the muscles and tendons, which will not be present on an x-ray. If a tear of the tendon does not respond to other treatments, surgery might be recommended.

The patient will typically receive some form of physical therapy to help improve strength and restore proper function to the leg. A series of exercises as well as certain types of equipment will be used in the program to treat hamstring tendinitis. This could include an exercise bicycle or elliptical machine. Often the therapist will have the patient utilize exercise resistance bands. As flexibility and strength improves, resistance will generally be increased.

After performing physical therapy exercises, it is often recommended to use ice to reduce swelling and inflammation. The usual method is 15 to 20 minutes on and off for as long as necessary. If the patient is using an anti-inflammatory drug, such an the over-the-counter medication containing ibuprofen, it should be taken with caution and for a limited time. Continuous use of anti-inflammatory has been known to cause gastric irritation and stomach bleeding in certain individuals.

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Discussion Comments
By SarahGen — On Aug 01, 2013

@fify-- Hamstring tendinitis can be treated and prevented by fixing posture. A physical therapist is the best person to help you with that though. Also,make sure your cycle saddle is not too high because that puts weight on the hamstrings.

By ZipLine — On Aug 01, 2013

@fify-- Have you rested at all since you've developed tendinitis?

Some people think that it's a good idea to continue physical activity after tendinitis, but I don't agree. Your hamstrings are inflamed right now and you need to let them heal. Icing and medication helps, but rest is the other part of the puzzle. Don't expect your pain to go away when you keep applying pressure on your hamstrings by cycling regularly.

I don't understand the concept of tendons freezing when not used. You will still be walking around and doing light chores, so why should they freeze? You have to stop doing the activity that caused the hamstring strain and inflammation in the first place. It's not forever, just until the pain goes away.

After the pain disappears, you can do stretches to strengthen your hamstrings.

By fify — On Jul 31, 2013

I've developed hamstring tendinitis from cycling. I am applying ice everyday and also taking anti-inflammatory medications. But it's not getting better. I've had persistent pain for three weeks and it worsens after cycling.

What should I do? I don't have insurance right now so physical therapy is not possible. Are there some exercises I can do myself at home for hamstring treatment?

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