Hamstring Tendonitis is a real pain in the butt. Here’s what I’ve learned about getting rid of high Hamstring Tendonitis pain and helpful tips on how to heal your body and return to the sports you love.
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Have you ever had dull, aching, pain in the butt? Pain right where the hamstring attaches to the butt muscle? You feel it when you walk, you definitely feel it when you bend forward, and the idea of running faster than a shuffle sounds almost impossible.
I’ve been there. High Hamstring Tendonitis. It’s a major bummer. Major.
Hamstring Tendonitis pain is a bad injury for anyone to deal with, especially for active people who need those hamstring muscles to be working correctly to do what we love the most, our sports! The hamstrings are an essential muscle group that help us move our best.
I had my first encounter with High Hamstring Tendonitis in 2012. I was an active runner and yoga student at the time. I’d run a few times a week and attend Vinyasa Flow classes with the best teachers in SF (we are very spoiled in the Bay Area when it comes to incredible yoga teachers – this place is a mecca of talent, knowledge, and skill!). I loved it until things started to hurt.
It all began with a vague, aching soreness high up on my hamstrings and deep into my buttock muscles. It felt like a big knot I needed to massage out and I knew something was off. I probably just have “tight runner hips”, I thought, “I must need more stretching and foam rolling”. So I did more of that. But it didn’t seem to help. In fact, the pain got worse.
The next thought was to stop running completely until things get better. So I retired my running shoes and spent more time doing yoga, still with the idea that stretching out my “tight runner hips” was the solution to my hamstring pain. I was wrong. What was causing my hamstring pain? Why wasn’t it going away with more resting and stretching?
For many people who practice yoga, hamstring injuries develop over time, usually where the hamstring attaches to the sit bone. This is a tendon injury, and unlike a muscle tear, it doesn’t happen suddenly. Instead, it is “death by a thousand cuts”: each tiny rip in the tendon is relatively minor by itself, but because it does not fully heal, repeated injuries accumulate over time, until an ill-considered bit of overstretching or an overly aggressive adjustment from a teacher finally puts the injury over the edge.
To give you a visual: if my hamstrings were a hair rubber band, over stretching had forced the band to rip and fray, causing them to lose their elasticity and no longer work to hold things together. Because it was so loose, my body had to fight to hold on and was in pain.
I didn’t need more flexibility, I needed stability. My hamstrings and hips had become so overstretched they could no longer support the demands of movement. The repetitive stress of countless downward dogs, forward folds, and hip openers on my already bendy body was ripping my hamstrings apart.
Stretching was actually causing my pain. What I needed was strength.
I stopped stretching and picked up the weights. I worked to realign my spine and regain strength in my butt, hips, and core. Squats, stability ball hamstring curls, Deadlifts (with good form!), and kettlebells were my best friends. I avoided all forward folds, downward dogs, and hip openers. A consistent strength program and a moderate rate of progression helped me heal my hamstrings. I was very lucky to have several incredible colleagues and coaches to help guide me through the process of figuring out what helped my hamstrings feel better and what didn’t. But real talk here: Your Body Is Your Business. Others can give you information to help you grow. But the only person responsible for figuring out what you need for your body to heal is you.
Have you had high Hamstring Tendonitis or are working through hamstring pain? Here are a few more details on high Hamstring Tendonitis pain and an exercise video that can help you gently get your hamstrings to work again.
Causes of High Hamstring Tendonitis Pain
- Repetitive stress particularly from activities like running, jumping, kicking, and yoga which can involve excessive lengthening of the hamstring muscles
- Weak hamstrings, hips, glutes, and core muscles
- Muscular imbalances, especially between the hamstrings and quadriceps
- Overstretching of the hamstring, hip, or butt muscles
How to get rid of High Hamstring Tendonitis Pain
Always consult your doctor or physical therapist before starting this or any exercise routine.
I am not a doctor, but have successfully overcome high Hamstring Tendonitis pain as well as helped many others heal from the condition through my work as a fitness professional. I share my story and what I’ve found helpful to give you insight and hope that you can heal from High Hamstring pain and return to the sports you love.
For me, strength training has been an essential piece of recovering my hamstrings to full health. At first I was scared to do any movement, but I discovered that smart strength training and a moderate rate of progression helped me put the bounce back into my muscles and heal from pain.
Unlike most injuries, you can not get over high Hamstring Tendonitis by resting. It actually takes a lot of work to physically change what is causing the issue. You want to Keep Moving Mindfully! A muscle in tension stays in tension until you change its position. Functional movement is the key to healing strong and mobile muscles. Get a support team of trusted health professionals to assist you in your healing process. Trust me: you and your body are worth the investment. But no matter what, remember that you must heal yourself. Everything and everyone that helps is just an “assist” to your body’s own healing capacity.
For me healing from high Hamstring Tendonitis was a process of trial and error: noticing the exercises that helped get rid of pain (hello stability ball hamstring curls!) and noticing the exercises that caused pain (goodbye forward folds!). I encourage you to work slowly, listen to your body, and notice what helps you feel better and what you need to avoid to heal. I always say to my coaching clients, “you only have time to feel good”! So keep the exercises that work for you and avoid the ones that cause you to hurt!
Exercises to Help High Hamstring Tendonitis Pain
Since High Hamstring Tendonitis pain can result from bodily imbalances and misalignments, these basic exercises can relieve hamstring discomfort by realigning the hips and the knees.
However please keep in mind that everybody’s body is different and no exact program found online will address your specific needs. I want to offer you a general menu of specific hamstring exercises that I found helpful in healing my hamstring and relieving pain. Consider adding this exercise video to your High Hamstring Tendonitis rehabilitation program. I believe if you do the following exercises once a day you’ll be able to bring some relief to those hamstrings. The exercises you’ll do in this video include:
Double Leg Glute Bridge: Lie on your back with the knees bent and feet hip-width apart. Place arms at your side and lift up the spine and hips. Slowly bring the hips back down, then lift back up or hold this position for 10-60 seconds.
Single Leg Glute Bridge: Same form as the above double leg glute bridge but with one leg instead of two. Hold this position for 10-60 seconds or lift hips up and down for 10-15 reps.
Side lying clamshell: Lay down on the side of your body with your legs bent in 90 degrees. Lift the top leg up and down, with the foot facing forward. You should feel this on the side of your butt and in your hips. Perform 10-20 reps and then switch sides.
Hamstring curl: Lie down on belly on your mat with your legs extended straight. Lift one leg off the floor and curl your heel towards your butt using your hamstrings, glutes, and core muscles. Repeat 10-15 reps and then switch sides.
Front Plank: Lie on the stomach with elbows close to the sides directly under the shoulders. The palms should be facing downwards. Now, engage the abdominal muscles. There will be a sensation of tightness around the ribs and lower part of the body. Now, contract the thigh muscles and straighten the legs and flex the ankles. Now, slowly lift the torso and thighs off the floor. The legs need to be kept as rigid as possible. Try maintaining this position for about 10 seconds.
Ready to get started? Pay attention to the alignment cues and have fun! I hope this hamstring exercise video helps you feel better.
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Injury is a great teacher, most often arising from patterns and habits of movement developed over long periods of time. Injuries awaken us to these patterns–and to new ways of moving and being within our body.
Many people don’t believe me when I tell them that too much yoga can be a bad thing. In the mainstream culture Yoga is seen as something that is safe to do everyday. But too much of anything is never a good thing. Have you ever suffered from High Hamstring Tendonitis? Have you ever had an injury from too much flexibility? What did you do to help your body heal? Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear your story and what has helped you.
For more reading on yoga injuries and high Hamstring Tendonitis, check out these posts:
- How I got my butt back, the surprising injury that taught me how to move again.
- Is Too Much Stretching Bad for You? Yoga Tune Up Takes You From Floppy to Fit. So incredibly grateful for Jill Miller and her powerful work.
- When Flexibility becomes a liability
- How To Avoid Hip Injuries From Yoga. Great modifications for all your favorite postures if you like to “sink into” your asanas.
- Yoga Poses That Can Hurt You.
- Expert Advice: How to Prevent Yoga Injuries with Strength Training
- Mobility WOD. Fantastic resource written by Doctor of Physical Therapy and CrossFit coach Kelly Starrett.
I hope this post serves you in feeling your very best. Here’s to keeping our hamstrings healthy and happy for life!
With love and squats,
My mission is to empower feel good fitness inside and out. I am here to be of service in your wellness and help you get your mind, body, and spirit in shape so you can love your life. Lets work together and live well. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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