Proximal Hamstring Tendinopathy: A Systematic Review of Interventions.

International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy
Publication Type:
Journal Article
International journal of sports physical therapy, 2021, 16, (2), pp. 288-305
Issue Date:
Full metadata record


Proximal hamstring tendinopathy affects athletic and non-athletic populations and is associated with longstanding buttock pain. The condition is common in track and field, long distance running and field-based sports. Management options need to be evaluated to direct appropriate clinical management.


To evaluate surgical and non-surgical interventions used in managing proximal hamstring tendinopathy.

Study design

Systematic review.


Electronic databases were searched to January 2019. Studies (all designs) investigating interventions for people with proximal hamstring tendinopathy were eligible. Outcomes included symptoms, physical function, quality of life and adverse events. Studies were screened for risk of bias. Reporting quality was assessed using the Cochrane Risk of Bias Tool (Randomized Controlled Trials [RCT]) and the Joanna Briggs Institute Checklist (Case Series). Effect sizes (Standard mean difference or Standard paired difference) of 0.2, 0.5 and 0.8 were considered as small, medium and large respectively. Overall quality of evidence was rated according to GRADE guidelines.


Twelve studies (2 RCTs and 10 case series) were included (n=424; males 229). RCTs examined the following interventions: platelet-rich plasma injection (n=1), autologous whole-blood injection (n=1), shockwave therapy (n=1) and multi-modal intervention (n=1). Case series included evaluation of the following interventions: platelet-rich plasma injection (n=3), surgery (n=4), corticosteroid injection (n=2), multi-modal intervention + platelet-rich plasma injection (n=1). Very low-level evidence found shockwave therapy was more effective than a multi-modal intervention, by a large effect on improving symptoms (-3.22 SMD; 95% CI -4.28, -2.16) and physical function (-2.42 SMD; 95% CI-3.33, -1.50) in the long-term. There was very low-level evidence of no difference between autologous whole-blood injection and platelet-rich plasma injection on physical function (0.17 SMD; 95% CI -0.86, 1.21) to (0.24 SMD; 95% CI -0.76, 1.24) and quality of life (-0.04 SMD; 95%CI -1.05, 0.97) in the medium-term. There was very low-quality evidence that surgery resulted in a large reduction in symptoms (-1.89 SPD; 95% CI -2.36, -1.41) to (-6.02 SPD; 95% CI -8.10, -3.94) and physical function (-4.08 SPD; 95%CI -5.53, -2.63) in the long-term.


There is insufficient evidence to recommend any one intervention over another. A pragmatic approach would be to initially trial approaches proven successful in other tendinopathies.

Level of evidence

Level 2a.
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