Hamstring tendonitis can hinder your progress to your training goals, whether you are competing in a dance competition or running in a marathon. This is caused by tiny tears in the hamstring tendon due to excessive movement, which is typical in running, jumping and kicking activities. While you are recovering -- which often takes between four to six weeks -- perform stretching exercises to keep the knee and hip joints and tissues mobile to reduce your recovery time.
Static Hamstring Contraction
Start with stretches that isolate the affected area by holding the length of the joint for a certain period of time. These exercises should place the least amount of pressure upon the hamstring tendons. The static hamstring contraction emphasizes the hamstring tendons in the back of your knee. Sit at the edge of a chair or a platform with your injured leg extended in front of you, with your knee bent at about 45 degrees. Press your heel into the floor as much as you can without pain, which tightens your hamstrings. Hold the contraction for five seconds, and relax your leg. Repeat the exercise for 10 reps one to three times a day.
Supine Single-Leg Raise
The supine single-leg raise emphasizes the hamstring tendon that attaches the top of the hamstring muscle to the back of the sitting bones of the lower pelvis, which is called the ischial tuberosity. Lie on the floor on your back with your legs together. Exhale slowly as you raise your injured leg off the floor until you feel a mild stretch in your hamstrings. Hold the position for two seconds, and lower the leg to the floor. Repeat the exercise for 10 reps one to three times a day.
Stand Up and Sit Down
When you're close to full recovery, do dynamic stretches that move your knee, hip and ankle joints together. Dynamic stretching is the repetitive shortening and lengthening of your muscles and joints repetitively in a certain direction, shortening and lengthening them. This will help you move better, especially in movement patterns that are necessary for daily activities. One such dynamic stretch is the stand and sit. Sit at the edge of a chair with your feet about hip-distance apart on the floor. Place your hands on the sides of your hips, and exhale slowly as you stand up from the sitting position. Inhale as you carefully sit back down on the chair. Your back should not round as you move.
There is no one-size-fits-all exercise program to address each person's hamstring tendonitis. Consult with your physical therapist or a qualified health-care professional before doing your stretches.
Nick Ng has been writing fitness articles since 2003, focusing on injury prevention and exercise strategies. He has covered health for "MiaBella" magazine. Ng received his Bachelor of Arts in communications from San Diego State University in 2001 and has been a certified fitness coach with the National Academy of Sports Medicine since 2002.