Hamstring tendonitis is inflammation in the tendons at the back of your thigh. It may cause pain or aching, but it’s usually not serious. Most people find relief from hamstring tendonitis with a few days of at-home treatments.
Hamstring tendonitis is inflammation in the tendons at the back of your thigh. Tendons are connective tissues that attach muscles to bones. Hamstring tendons attach your hamstring muscles to bones in your pelvis, knee and lower leg.
You develop hamstring tendonitis if you overuse or overstretch the tendons. You might feel pain or notice swelling at the back of your thigh. Most people with hamstring tendonitis recover within a few days or weeks with rest and conservative (non-surgical) treatments.
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Tendonitis isn’t the same as a tendon tear. A tendon tear is a serious injury that causes the tendon to pull away from your hamstring muscles or bones. Severe tendon tears might require surgery.
Athletes or people who run at fast speeds (especially starting and stopping very quickly) are at highest risk for hamstring tendonitis. Sprinters, hurdlers, dancers and people who play contact sports such as football, basketball or soccer may develop this type of hamstring injury. Studies suggest that athletes between the ages of 16 and 25 are at the highest risk of hamstring injuries.
You’re also at risk for hamstring tendonitis or other hamstring injuries if you:
Hamstring tendonitis is usually the result of repetitive stress on the tendons in the back of your thigh. Overuse can make the tendon fibers irritated and inflamed.
Symptoms of hamstring tendonitis may include:
Your healthcare provider performs a physical exam and checks the back of your thigh. They may press on the muscles and tendons to check for tenderness or swelling. They may also ask you to perform certain movements, such as bending your legs or rising up on your toes. Be sure to let your provider know if you experience pain when walking or putting any weight on your leg.
Most people won’t need imaging tests for mild tendonitis that’s not causing severe pain. But if your provider suspects a more serious injury, such as a tendon tear, they may do an X-ray, MRI, CT scan or ultrasound.
Most people find relief from hamstring tendonitis after a few days of treatment with the R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression and elevation) method. You can do R.I.C.E. at home to minimize pain and swelling in your hamstring:
Your provider may also recommend pain relievers to keep you comfortable as you rest your hamstring. Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can also reduce pain and inflammation.
Some people may find physical therapy helpful as they recover from hamstring tendonitis. Physical therapy can help you rebuild strength and flexibility in your leg.
Most people don’t need surgery for hamstring tendonitis. If you have a severe tendon tear or the tendon tears away from muscle or bone, you might need surgical treatment.
Tips for preventing hamstring tendon pain include:
At-home treatments help most people find relief from hamstring tendon pain within a few days or weeks. Some people continue to have chronic hamstring tendonitis if they’re athletes or continue to do strenuous physical activity. After you have a tendon injury, you’re more likely to injure the tendon again. Ask your healthcare provider about ways to prevent reinjury.
Contact your doctor if you:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Hamstring tendonitis is inflammation in the tendons at the back of your thigh. It’s usually the result of overuse but can also happen due to a sudden hamstring injury. The condition might cause pain, aching, stiffness or swelling in your leg. At-home treatments include R.I.C.E. and pain relievers. Hamstring tendonitis usually goes away in a few days.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 02/14/2022.
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