Written by Hui Le Ngoo, Physiotherapist
While working as a physiotherapist for Albert Park Falcons FC, some of the most common injuries I see involve the hamstrings. Pain at the back of the thigh is typical in running sports, and can be stubborn to go away.
While most of us aren’t elite athletes (although some of us might have dreamed to be one at some point in our lives), we are far from being immune to hamstring injuries. We may not play sports, or even do any running, and still, pain can arise at the back of our thighs.
What is hamstring tendinopathy?
Hamstring tendinopathy is a condition where the hamstring tendon (the structure attaching the muscle to the bone) is overused. More often than not, this happens when we try to do a bit too much too quickly - for example, starting a daily walking or running program as a new year’s resolution, or gardening for hours on end every weekend as a new hobby. Over time, the hamstring tendon just isn’t able to take the amount of stress that we are giving it, and pain starts to develop. Staying physically active has an unending list of benefits (sometimes it can even be fun!), but it needs to be done gradually and appropriately to avoid injuries.
Usually, hamstring tendinopathy is felt just below the glutes, at the very top of the thigh. This is known as proximal or high hamstring tendinopathy.
Symptoms can include:
● Deep ache at the back and top of the thigh
● Pain with prolonged sitting
● Pain with stretching, running, or kicking
● Worse in the morning, better throughout the day
However… important note!
It is important to clarify at this point that pain at the back of the thigh does not automatically indicate a hamstring injury. Other potential causes/sources of the pain should be considered, including the back (e.g. sciatica), glutes (e.g. gluteal tendinopathy), thigh bone, and hip, to name a few. What’s more, even if we are certain that the source of pain are the hamstrings, we still need to investigate the type of injury we have sustained - whether it’s a strain or overload, whether it’s on the tendon or on the muscle belly, etc.
What can I do about it?
To help with pain, you can try ice or heat on the location of the pain. If you suspect that it’s hamstring tendinopathy, avoid stretching, walking/running/sports and any activity that brings on the pain.
Here at the clinic, we can accurately diagnose your injury, and develop a plan with you to get you back to doing the things important to you. This includes treatments for pain such as massage, mobilisation, taping, as well as prescribing a rehabilitation exercise program, tailored to your needs and capacity.
While treatments for pain can make us feel better, we need to address the cause of the pain to ensure that our body recovers and for the pain to keep away.
With my experience working as a physiotherapist alongside the footy club to ensure players are game-day ready, I’m well equipped to help you get back on the right track!
In Stride Health Clinic not only has consultation rooms but a rehab gym and clinical Pilates studio on site. Our physios provide hydrotherapy services from Ascot Vale Leisure Centre. Aside from physio services, we also offer myotherapy/remedial massage, a dietitian and podiatrist so we can work together for all of your injury and nutrition needs.
In addition to working at the clinic, Hui Le has been and continues to be involved with local footy teams & is currently the team physio for The Albert Park Falcons in the VAFA.
With a keen passion for musculoskeletal and sports physiotherapy, Hui Le is a strong believer in a combination approach of hands-on manual therapy, education, evidence-based management, and a large focus on client-tailored exercise prescription.
Hui Le offers hands on physiotherapy, clinical Pilates, hydrotherapy and exercise based rehabilitation at In Stride. He is available most weekdays and Saturday mornings.