Hamstring refers to a set of 3 muscles that begin from the pelvic area (hip), travel all the way down to the back portion of the leg and finally end at the shin bone. The shin is one of the 3 bones of the knees. As we all know, the tendons are structures made up of thick fibrous tissues that connect the muscle to the bone. Each hamstring muscle has a tendon that does the function of joining the muscle to any of the bones that form the knee joint.
In this condition, one or more of the hamstring tendons gets swollen and turn red. A leg injury and too much use of the hamstring muscles is one of the most common causes of hamstring tendonitis. Suddenly changing the running speed or an unexpected jerk to the knee can also give rise to this condition.
The tendons that connect the hamstring muscles to the knee bones, cause pain and appear inflamed. Swelling near the knee joint is also observed. Even while taking rest, persistent mild pain may be experienced in the knee. Bending the knee may seem an impossible task, in case the injury is severe.
Taking adequate rest is the key to reduce inflammation of the hamstring tendons and to speed up recovery. It is essential to avoid all activities that trigger pain in the knee. One must ensure that too much pressure is not exerted on the affected knee, for at least 3-4 weeks. Hamstring tendonitis also responds quite well to ice therapy, if ice packs are applied in the first 48 hours after injury. Cold therapy does help to reduce the pain and the swelling associated with this type of injury. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen are commonly prescribed to subside the pain. Wearing compression garments or 'wraps' around the knee is also beneficial to alleviate the pain.
Hamstring exercises help to strengthen the tendons and the muscles affected with the injury. After taking the initial treatment (rest, icing, compression, and elevation) for 4 to 5 days, one can start doing these exercises that help to restore normal movement.
Hamstring Sitting Stretch
Start this exercise, by first sitting on the floor, in such a way that both the legs are straight. Without bending the knees or back, lean forward. Keep on leaning forward until one experiences a tolerable stretch in the knee. Be in this position for 10-15 seconds. Repeat this procedure 3 to 4 times daily.
This is yet another exercise that can have a positive impact on the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of the hamstrings. A resistance band that is put around the ankle, is required, while doing the exercise. One can do this exercise on the bed or on any soft mattress. First lie on the stomach, with the knees touching the bed. Now, with the resistance band wrapped around the ankle, lift the lower part of the legs with knees still touching the bed. Bend the knees until the lower part of the legs, make an angle of 90 degrees with the bed. Repeat this procedure 10 to 15 times to strengthen the tendons. There are special equipment designed to perform a hamstring curl. One can always use these machines to do this exercise in a better way.
Ultrasound therapy that involves sending ultrasonic waves into the injured area of the body, is also helpful to reduce the pain. This is done by placing an instrument that produces ultrasonic waves, over the affected area. As the waves penetrate the skin, the vibrations generated provide relief from the pain. Generally doctors go for surgery, when the injury causes complete rupture of the hamstring tendons.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.