Physical Stress
June 20, 2023

Hamstring Tendonitis: 3 Ways to Relieve Your Hamstring Tightness

person running on concrete road

What is Hamstring Tendonitis?

We have a set of 3 muscles at the back of our upper leg that make up the hamstring muscles: semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and the biceps femoris. Those muscles attach to our bones via tendons. Tendonitis happens when the tendons become inflamed: swollen, hot, red, painful, and/or dysfunctional.

The hamstring tendons attach to the ischial tuberosities or sit bones (the two pointy parts of your pelvis that you sit on) and the tibia and fibula on the sides of the lower knee. You may feel hamstring tightness in those spots with hamstring tendonitis. Because the hamstrings attach to the pelvis, hamstring tightness can cause changes in the pelvis leading to back pain.

Does it Differ from Hamstring Tightness?

Yes, hamstring tightness and hamstring tendonitis are not the same things. Hamstring tightness refers to a condition where the muscles at the back of the thigh feel tight and restricted in their range of motion. Various factors, such as poor posture, inactivity, or muscle imbalances, can cause this. 

On the other hand, hamstring tendonitis is a condition that affects the tendons in the back of the thigh and is characterised by inflammation, swelling, and pain in the area where the hamstring muscles attach to the bones. While tightness in the hamstrings can contribute to the development of tendonitis, they are different conditions that require other treatments.

What Causes Hamstring Tendonitis?

Common causes of hamstring tendonitis are overuse from continually using the muscle and not giving it enough rest or using the muscle too quickly without proper warm-up. Over stretching the muscles without proper warm-up can also cause tendonitis. 

These injuries usually show up after doing a big athletic event like a running or cycling race without proper training. Weekend warriors who love going for long runs on the weekend but don't have time to get enough training in during the week can suffer from this. Doing a yoga class without easing into the movements enough is also a cause. Sometimes doing a hot yoga class can fool us into thinking we are more flexible than we are and we can over do it. 

3 Ways to Relieve Hamstring Pain

1. Stretching and Foam Rolling

Hamstring tightness can be helped with stretching and foam rolling. Slowly easing into exercise is essential for keeping the hamstrings healthy. Dynamic stretching (slow, controlled, constant movement of the muscles) is helpful to bring blood flow and nutrients into the damaged tissues. Foam rolling is a form of self-massage that also helps to bring blood and nutrition into the tissue and pull toxins out. Foam rolling is most effective over the muscle and where the muscle attaches to the tendon. Stay off of the joints where the tendon attaches to the bone (ie. over the knee joint). 

2. Use Heat or Ice

Our bodies rely on movement in the joints - called imbibition - to bring nutrition to the tissues and detox waste from the tissues. If movement is prohibitively painful, applying heat and/or ice can help in some cases. Heat and/or ice can be applied to the sore area for up to 20 minutes or until the area becomes numb or uncomfortable, whichever happens first. Make sure there is a layer of fabric between the ice or heat and your skin so as to not permanently damage the cells in the area. Generally icing is more effective in the first 48 hours after an injury. After that, ice or heat can be applied. If you are unsure if you should be applying ice or heat, contact your chiropractor and ask. 

3. See a Chiropractor

Hamstring tendonitis can cause instant compensations in the spine and pelvis. When a muscle is injured, we tend to shift our weight away from it and force other muscles to take over. While this helps relieve discomfort temporarily, it can immediately start to cause other muscles to work too much too quickly. A chiropractor can assess your joint motion, posture, and range of motion to see if underlying issues have already started or can be avoided. 

Get Relief From Your Hamstring Pain With Chiropractic Care

Once hamstring tendonitis has set in, it can take weeks to heal. The sooner you have your body assessed, the sooner you can effectively heal. Chiropractic care can get to the underlying root cause of the issue and help your body heal and restore proper function and feeling. 


1. Kastner, K. (2021). Hamstring Tendonitis: 3 Ways to Relieve Hamstring Pain. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Feb. 2021].

2. Pask, J. (2017). What Is The Difference Between Hamstring Tightness And Hamstring Tendonitis? [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Feb. 2021].

3. Bess, M. (2020). What Causes Hamstring Tendonitis? [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Feb. 2021].

4. Decker, H. (2021). What Is Hamstring Tendonitis and How Do You Treat It? [online] Available at:

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