It’s quite simply a pain in the rear. While it goes by the technical name, high hamstring tendinopathy, the condition can strike runners and triathletes with a vengeance. With a training program that features miles of running combined with the uncountable hills that litter the Bay Area landscape, the hamstring muscles and their tendons can become overworked and overloaded. The first inkling of this is usually soreness after a run in the upper portion of the back of the leg and may progress to pain during exercise and difficulty with simple daily tasks like sitting and walking. Despite the fact that high hamstring pain is common in those that exercise it is underreported in the medical literature and can often be misdiagnosed.
Trying to ignore the soreness and “run through” high hamstring tendinopathy frequently leads to a worsening of the condition and possible prolonging of the recovery. Making matters worse, high hamstring tendon pain is frequently associated with back conditions as the hamstring muscles can be weakened with back-related nerve irritation. If this is the case, treatment of the high hamstring tendinitis must first begin by addressing the lower back condition.
In the early phases of recovery running should be halted and cross training on a stationary bike used to maintain cardiovascular fitness. Safe yet vigorous reconditioning of the hamstring and leg are the focus of the initial exercise program. After the hamstring tendon irritation has subsided and leg strength improved, more advanced cardiovascular training can be combined with functional pre-running exercises.