What is Hamstring Tendinopathy?
Looking at the Symptoms and Self-Management Strategies of this Common Injury among Dancers.
Written by Osteopath Gemma Ahrens
Hamstring tendinopathy is a common condition that can affect people of all ages, particularly those involved in dance and other sports or physical activities that place excessive strain on the hamstrings. Hamstring tendinopathy is one of the most common complaints for dancers that we see in our clinic.
Hamstring tendinopathy refers to a series of painful symptoms associated with the hamstring tendons, which connect the hamstring muscles to the sit bones (ischial tuberosities) at the base of the pelvis. This condition can result from overuse, muscle imbalances, or trauma, and often leads to discomfort, pain, and reduced mobility. Symptoms include pain through the hamstrings (back of the thigh region) and decreased flexibility through the hamstrings. For dancers, this may present as pain and reduced mobility in high kicks and the splits.
Rest and Activity Modification
One of the primary self-management strategies for hamstring tendinopathy is allowing the affected area to rest by avoiding excessive strain. This may involve modifying or temporarily avoiding certain movements that put excessive strain on the hamstring.
Stretching and Strengthening Exercises
While it is important to avoid putting excessive strain through your hamstring while it recovers, it is equally important to rebuild strength and mobility in the muscle through stretching and strengthening. It is important not to stretch to the point of feeling pain, but stretch only until you feel tension.
Non-prescription anti-inflammatory medications can be used to manage pain and inflammation, but these should be used with caution and under medical guidance.
Heat Packs and Deep Heat Cream
Applying heat to the areas is another great way to reduce pain and improve mobility. Creams such as fisiocrem as well as wheat packs and hot showers or baths can provide relief for hamstring tendinopathy.
The Role of Osteopathic Treatment
Osteopathic treatment can help to improve the range of movement and decrease muscle tension in the hamstrings. Treatment can involve:
Manual techniques, such as massage, joint mobilisation and adjustments to address musculoskeletal imbalances and promote healing. These techniques can help release tension in the muscles and improve circulation in the affected area.
Osteopathic treatment takes a patient-centered approach, tailoring treatments to each individual's specific needs and goals. Lifestyle factors including your job, hobbies and goals are taken into account to create a comprehensive treatment plan that is specific to you.
Osteopathic treatment aims to stimulate the body's natural healing mechanisms. By addressing not only the symptoms but also the underlying causes of hamstring tendinopathy.
Providing guidance on lifestyle modifications and exercises to prevent future occurrences of hamstring tendinopathy. This proactive approach is instrumental in maintaining long-term musculoskeletal health. Exercises and stretches will be tailored to each individual and will progress to harder, more challenging exercises as your tendinopathy heals.
Hamstring tendinopathy can be a painful and limiting condition, but with the right self-management strategies and osteopathic treatment, individuals can find relief and support in their journey to recovery.
If you or someone you know has a suspected hamstring tendinopathy, we are here to help give an accurate diagnosis and personalised treatment plan. Osteopathic care offers a holistic and patient-centered approach that can be a valuable component of your recovery journey.