Expert physiotherapists perspectives on PHT (a 2020 paper)

Proximal Hamstring Tendinopathy: Expert Insights and Management Strategies


Proximal Hamstring Tendinopathy (PHT) can be a challenging condition to manage, causing discomfort and affecting various aspects of daily life. In this article, we will delve into a podcast episode that explores expert physiotherapist perspectives on the diagnosis, management, and prevention of PHT. We will break down the key insights provided by these experts, shedding light on effective strategies for dealing with this condition.

Understanding PHT

The Condition and Its Impact

PHT is a condition characterized by pain and discomfort in the proximal hamstring tendon, often associated with activities that load the tendon, such as running, cycling, or sitting for extended periods. In many cases, PHT presents as a localized pain around the ischial tuberosity, commonly referred to as the sitting bone. To gain a deeper understanding of this condition and its management, experts were interviewed for their insights.

Expert Selection and Methodology

A Global Perspective

To gather diverse and valuable insights, experts were selected through purposeful sampling, ensuring representation from various geographical locations and across different sporting populations. These experts possessed specific criteria, including:

  • Publication of papers related to PHT.
  • A master’s degree or doctorate in physiotherapy.
  • A minimum of 10 years of clinical experience in treating PHT.

These stringent criteria ensured that the experts interviewed were highly knowledgeable and experienced in the field.

Diagnosing PHT

Crucial Insights

Diagnosing PHT involves a comprehensive approach that includes patient interviews, clinical tests, and, in some cases, imaging. The experts highlighted the following key points regarding diagnosis:

  • Onset of PHT is often gradual, linked to increased mechanical load on the proximal hamstring tendon.
  • Pain is typically localized around the ischial tuberosity (sitting bone).
  • Most experts agreed that pain should not shift or spread, as this could indicate a different diagnosis or comorbidity.
  • While some experts reported pain extending into the hamstring, it generally did not go past the knee.

Clinical Tests and Imaging

Assessing the Condition

Clinical tests play a vital role in diagnosing PHT. These tests are designed to reproduce localized pain at the ischial tuberosity, often with increased pain as the load on the tendon increases. Imaging, on the other hand, was rarely used for diagnosis, with experts relying on patient interviews and physical examinations. Imaging was considered when the condition was unresponsive to management or when another condition needed to be ruled out.

Differential Diagnoses

Considering Other Possibilities

Experts emphasized the importance of considering differential diagnoses, particularly conditions that can mimic PHT. The primary differential diagnosis was pain originating from the sciatic nerve or the tendon sheath. Symptoms of sciatic nerve involvement often involved more widespread distribution of pain, extending into the buttock and down the hamstring. Tests such as the slump test and straight leg raise were used to diagnose sciatic nerve involvement. Additionally, undiagnosed inflammatory conditions, like ankylosing spondylitis or other forms of arthritis, were also considered as possible differentials.

Management and Prevention

Key Strategies

Managing PHT is a multifaceted process that involves education, exercise, and, in some cases, passive interventions. Here are the key insights provided by the experts:

  • Education and exercise were primary management options, with passive interventions used as adjuncts.
  • Exercise programs targeted the hamstring and the entire kinetic chain.
  • Exercises were progressed gradually, taking into account individual pain responses and goals.
  • Passive interventions, such as massage and manual therapy, were used to complement education and exercise but were not considered integral.
  • Injection therapies and surgery were not recommended by the experts.
  • Ongoing management was crucial due to the high potential for recurrence, emphasizing the importance of maintaining strength and addressing areas vulnerable to atrophy.


Proximal Hamstring Tendinopathy can be a challenging condition, but expert physiotherapist perspectives provide valuable insights into its diagnosis, management, and prevention. Education, exercise, and a tailored approach are key to effectively managing PHT and reducing the risk of recurrence. By understanding the condition and following evidence-based strategies, individuals can take proactive steps toward overcoming PHT and regaining their quality of life.