Hamstring Pain


Physiotherapist, bike fitter, cyclist and triathlete Orla White chats to us about hamstring pain with a few practical tips.

Let’s talk about hamstring pain. Have you ever had that pain located high up around your sitting bone?  Worse for the first few minutes of your run, then seems to disappear and then comes back towards the end or after running? Sometimes it gets worse after sitting for a long time and sometimes even noticeable when cycling or gym work?  One of the main causes of this type of discomfort can be a proximal hamstring tendonopathy. The hamstring muscles originate from the ischial tuberosity (sit bone) and are responsible for bending the knee and extending the hip.  Tendon degeneration, partial tearing and peritendinous inflammatory reactions can all be responsible for pain in the tendon and while all of this sounds quite serious and scary, most injuries can be treated conservatively in a matter of months.

While there can be a multitude of reasons behind the onset of these types of pain, they are commonly related to load.  This might be in the form of increasing running distance too quickly (volume) or increasing the intensity of your sessions through a sudden addition of sprint work or hill work. They are also quite common in those who do a lot of sustained repetitive stretching such a yoga or pilates.  

Treatment of this type of injury involves increasing the load capacity of the tendon i.e strengthening the tendon through specific exercises.  The great news is in most cases we don’t recommend you rest, but instead find a tolerable level of exercise that keeps your pain levels moderately low.

Below are some suggested moves to help improve tendon strengthening.

There can be an array of other causes that could be responsible for this type of pain and we would always recommend you see a physio to get a full assessment.

About Orla:  Orla completed a degree in Sports Rehabilitation and Physiology in Ireland, followed by a Masters in Physiotherapy from the UK.  To date she has enjoyed a varied career working in both high level amateur sports and treating members of the general public in private medical facilities. Her sporting passion lies in cycling injuries and prevention.  Having spent time in Italy and France training with world class physiotherapists in cycling, she is well positioned to effectively carry out bike-fits for both cycling injuries and performance enhancement through her in-depth knowledge of anatomy and cycling biomechanics.