Thigh + buttock pain - Hamstring tendon

Have been experiencing problems with left thigh & buttock for around 6 weeks.

History: had been training for VLM, all going well. Had slight achiness in left thigh/bum after running but just a niggle nothing more (so I thought). Managed 20 mile race in just under 3 hours, end of Feb. Legs/bum/back felt a bit achey afterwards but better next day. About 10 days later, did a club training session that involved run up slight incline doing high knees for a minute (did several of these) and could hardly walk next morning due to achey left thigh and buttock. Made appt to see sports physio the following week. In the meantime saw a friend who had also been at high knees session who was also stiff and achey.

Sports physio diagnosed degenerative L4/5 lumbar disk, advised ibuprofen / paracetamol combo up to marathon (about 28 days) but no more. Also said no more marathons, stick to shorter distances, ok to do VLM though. Had a 10 minute session on her traction table which left me with backache for next 2 days (previously had no pain in back). Advised against hamstring stretches.

Started taking ibuprofen but ran out after 3 days and kept forgetting to buy more (am not v good at taking medication).

Achiness became more of a pain at bottom of buttock and down back of thigh. Fast forward to 6 days before marathon, and I decided to pull out, starting a 26 mile run in pain did not seem like a good idea. Saw GP shortly after, he was quite surprised at lumbar disk theory and thought more likely to be muscular. He referred me to orthopaedic practitioner who I saw yesterday, she thinks tendon problem at top of hamstring, not bad enough for injection. Recommended hamstring stretches and "gentle runninng".

Pain is there today, I think because of yesterday's poking/prodding/stretching....pain not always present though. Just wondering if anyone else has any experience of this, as while I will try advise of orthopaedic prac, I am concerned that I have really not done much training for last 5 weeks and don't seem to be much further forward.


  • Sounds like sciatica.  The sciatic nerve exits the spine at L5, S1 and travels all the way down the leg to the foot.  Pressure on the nerve can be caused by degenerative disc or further down by tight piriformis muscles.  I am recovering from suspected bulging L5, S1 disc and had excrutiatiing thigh pain, calf spasms and achey bum.  They did the straight leg lift test where you lay flat and they lift your leg up to see if it causes pain, they then did the same with the good leg which caused pain in the bad leg and they used this to diagnose the disc problem rather than muscular... hope that helps.


  • Sciatica and piriformis syndrome are definite possibilities, but so is a hamstring tendon problem - or of course it coule be a combination (piriformis syndrome and hamstring overuse can go together).

  • Thanks for your replies. The pain comes and goes, in various places, at different times. Sometimes it is just the pain in my thigh that seemed to start it all off, other times it is in my bum & calf. Have run twice in past 8 days, and each time was very stiff and achey next day, so have decided to lay off running altogether for a while to see what happens. I have a telephone appt with physio - she will ring me in July to see how I am - so feeling a bit lost as to what to do now. May ring her sooner.

    Dina, what was your treatment, if any?


  • Sounds v similar to my problems with piriformis, which comes and goes, apparently without cause but a couple of days stretching usually sorts it out.

  • Sorry to say this, but I've had something similar since October. Started after a Parkrun, then foolishly ran on it the next day. Really painful at the top end of the hamstring. Went to GP, then 3 different physios. Tried weeks of stretching, massage, icing, ultrasound etc. Nowhere near as bad as it first was, but it seems to have reached a plateau where it doesn't get any better or any worse. Trained for and ran the VLM, but did little or no speedwork over the 16 weeks, so was 20 minutes slower than last year. Now running and racing, but slow. I'm starting to do speedwork again, but it does slow me down, which is really frustrating after all this time. I've had weeks off etc. but no improvement. Met someone last week who said they'd had it for 2 years! Age doesn't help (60) I'm sure, but just don't know what to do next.

  • Hi there. I am new to this forum. I am (meant to be) training for the London marathon this year, my first marahon. I have always been a casual runner, but have only ever done a half marathon before, and various did 10 mile and 10k races. I made a PB in my last 10 mile race at the end of October and was feeling in really good form. However, in the middle of November I pulled my hamstring. I was doing interval training with medium length "sprints". I tried to lengthen my stride at one point, which along with not being used to doing speed wrok, am sure meant I stretched the tendon at the origin of my hamstring. I didnt notice any particular sharp pain at the time and jogged home as nomral, but felt started to feel a twinge as I did so. I didnt stretch out after. During the day, sitting at my desk it seized up more and more until I was quite crippled with the pain and walking was difficult, it seemed to relax out after 24 hours or so and resumed walking pain free. I tried a run the next week and felt the pain again, towards the end of the run (only half an hour) and then was crippled at work the same day again, in the same way as the week before. Again, it eased up after 24 hours. Since then my flexibility is severally reduced and I can no longer touch my toes for example, I attempted one more short run (20 mins) about 4 weeks after the injury and still felt pain- albeit mild. Now it is almost not noticable when I walk, but i am too scared to run in case of making it worse. I am having physio and when I ran on the treadmill for her, I could feel the pain immediately after only a few strides. I am doing gentle stretches as recommended by her, and pilates and core work and trying to strengthen my glutes in particular (was told they were lazy and therefore hamstrings are over worked). I have been out of action (not running) for over approx 8 weeks now. I am really worried about my marathon training. I was doing so well and now I feel I am not even back to square one, but behind where I was before I even started training as I could always run a half hour or hour without problems before. When I did leg exercies last week (using TRX), I felt fine at the time and during the day after, but the tightness and niggle returned the next day, but albeit much less than it was initially when I first injured it, and I could walk, but still enough to feel I could not possibly run on it. I am hoping I am slowly getting there.....I am determinded to get better and get back to running as I really miss it, but dont want to push it. My PT and physio are optmimistc, but I am not so much. It seems such a long time to still feel pain when I have not been running on it. I have taken up swimming over last week or so for cardio as I have been so inactive. Has anyone had anything similar? My physio thinks it was a slight muscle tear right at the origin and its taking longer due to lack of blood flow. But I am almost more worried it is tendonitis as I dont know what to do about that, and worried it is becoming chronic. Athough I had tendonits in my achilles once and it healed very quickly - in a couple of weeks- and that was from hearing it creak and about to snap, to running pain free. I just wondered if anyone else has had an injury like this in preparing for a marathon or other race and was still able to complete the race? Thanks

  • Hi Emily. So sorry to hear about your situation. Yes, as I said, I did manage the London marathon, albeit rather slow. The good news is that the problem finally disappeared some months ago now. I think it just needed time. I started to do longer and slightly faster walks until I could try running part way, and eventually a full run. I must admit I'm starting to think that physio really doesn't help much. I did try a foam roller to self massage, and that did seem to help a bit. You do need to keep doing some sort of activity though. That distance of 26 miles demands respect!

  • Emily. Sympathies. I got piriformis syndrome four weeks out from my marathon last spring - made for rather more of a taper than I'd intended, but I'd trained for and run a 50K 10 weeks before the marathon, so I was up on the mileage, so not quite the same.

    I spend December on reduced mileage due to a posterior tibial tendon problem, which still isn't 100% sorted, but I'm back to 50-mile weeks and intending to run a 30-miler this weekend and a 50-miler two weeks after that... I'll let you know how it is after this Sunday. I've been mostly self-treating with a massage "stick" and a tennis ball.

  • Thanks El Gato. Appreciate the response. I just had my third physio session and second dry needling and it made so much difference this time! i felt instantly looser and more flexible. She said she is pleased with my progress and i look stronger. I need to keep doing stegthening exercises but she says i can start running again! albeit for short distances and interval with walking and running. I am over the moon about this though! I also bought a foam roller but not tried this yet. And also invested in some compression shorts?! not srue if this is worth it, but i was feeling desperate at the time! I'll try and get my boyfriend to do some longer walks with me, with a little running inbetween- good idea! (not optimistic he will come with me though!) I'll post again in a few weeks to let you know how i am doing- and if the compression shorts have any benefit?! Anyone else tried these?

  • Thanks Debra. we posted at the same time! As i said above, i have been told i can strart running again, so i am really excited about that! but must not over do it. Terrified of further injury! I have seen massage sticks and wondered if it was worth a go. Also been using a tennis ball for massage, as recommended by my sports masseur. Think that does help. Not sure if dry needling helps for piriformis (read a little about it over last few weeks) but it certainly seems to help me! Thank you both for the responses. it helps lift spirits a lot to talk to others in similar positions or experience!

  • Sounds like you are making good progress Emily. I am still in the same position as I was when I first posted - still not running and still in pain. Have seens, so far: private physio, GP, NHS physio, chiropracter and sports massage person.

  • that sounds terribly frustrating Susiechops. I really feel for you. And i hope i wont take any steps back, but aware that i might well. Going to be very careful. Have you been doing strengthening and core exercises. I think the fact i took up pilates really helps....perhaps you have tendonitis rather than a hamstring tear......although as i already said, i am not sure what one can do about that but rest? By the way what is VLM?

  • Virgin London Marathon..

  • OK, Thanks!

  • Emily: glad to hear there's progress. Tennis ball is great for massaging the piriformis - you can lie down, prop the foot on the bad side up on the other knee and really let the ball get into the painful area in the buttock (that was my experience, anyway).

    Susiechops: sympathies - must be very frustrating.

  • Hi All

    I read this thread of comments and thought of joining too as I am also injured. I am pleased you Emily and Debra seems on the way for recovery, but I completely sympthasise with you Susie. I am doing the Brighton Marathon (two weeks earlier than London Marathon) and got piriforms syndrome. It started nine days ago (never had it before) and had to see a chiro urgently as I could not even walk properly! He told me to rest, and have done long walks instead but this week I did three jogs (today did a park run) but these were not without pain. I could bear the pain but I was not going that fast as i felt as if I could not even move the injured leg because of the pain in the gluteus! I am so worried about my marathon training...i was doing so well, believe and this marathon means so much to me because I am doing it in memory of my neighbour's son who died from leukemia last year ( mom used to be a very good runner and quit competitive running since her son got sick now she has quit everything) so this marathon is for him and her too. I would be happy with a 4 hours time but how on earth I can achieve it now I am injured? I am getting deep tissue massages once a week and chiro sessions and on friday the chiro even did some acupunture on the nerve (it was very painful but the pain ease off during the day). I am not taking any ibuprofen but using the roll foam. The chiro told me to rest and do swimming and gentle spinning on a turbo (stationary bike) if I want to, but not running (ops today I did a park run to try it out) Usually I have always recovered from injuries quickly and even manage to continue to jog and recovered but now I am beginning to question this for this case...I have ordered a water belt for running in the pool, i thought I could try it out next week. I will continue swimming twice a week and do one pool running, then a spin and walking? I start pilates on monday so I hope this will help..but shall I take ibuprofen? I use hot water bottle on the gluteus as it seems to help, and even the roll but soon the pain and uncomfortaness comes back. The chiro told me I need to stretch and he has asked the sport masseur to tell me what type of stretches to do next you know any? The chiro also said I need to change my running style. this problem has started since I got this new expensive extra cushioning shoes, but with that shoes my strikes are long and hard on the do you run? So Susie you are not alone, I am feeling a bit rubbish and I think I really to stop even jogging. Will I recover soon ? is hard not to 'panic' a little when the marathon is only 11 weeks do you stop yourself from worrying though?

  • I was 1 month out from my first marathon when I started getting pains in my calf. These got so bad I couldn't run and then would come at lower and lower milage.

    Rested and was told there was no major damage, however I have now had pain (4 months later) in buttocks and top of hamstring, where it joins the (no way to say this politely) lower cheek of my bum.

    Tried Neuro Muscular Massage and Physio - neither has made a blind bit of difference

    would an MRI scan show anything up??

  • Hi guys, Maria, particularly- by way of update, I am now running again and feeling very little pain, almost normal in fact, but only sticking to short distances and keeping up my residence, and core work. (I feel I could potentially actually run longer but i am being very cautious.) I am hopeful it is now healed and it’s just a question of building up distance gradually. I aim to stick to swimming and spinning to keep up fitness while I build up distance in my runs. Just thought it might give a glimmer of light, particularly to Maria......

    I have had a total of 4 physio sessions, so its taken one month total (and 2 weeks since i last posted feeling despair) and I found the dry needling REALLY helped. The first time was a mild improvement, but the second time, I felt a real twitch and after that, it felt so loosened off it was amazing. I have been doing hamstring stretches every day and building up my glutes by doing leg raises and clams. I suggest you try this if you have no other advise from physio etc. I was also told to change my running style, I turned my knees inwards and twisted too much. Trying to run “on train tracks” and keep straight and core still and arms pumping in straight lines has helped, although feels awkward at first. Doing step ups and step downs on a bench seems to help keep me "in line" too. But only once your tendon/hamstring feels better and doesn’t hurt whilst doing it. A dull ache is ok, apparently and just means your muscle is working, but a sharp pain means trouble.

    I really hope you get back to training soon. I am not an as experienced runner as some on here, but if my experience is true of this type of injury, I would say DO NOT run whilst you have pain. Ease off completely and do swimming and spin (didn’t aggravate me) and do gentle stretches every day. I felt totally hopeless and demotivated before I started doing all the cross training and stretches, now I feel I am almost better off for having the injury as I am training more intelligently.

    Good luck! and I'll keep you posted! Please do the same.

Sign In or Register to comment.