Hamstring Tendon Injury

Hamstring Repair

The three hamstring muscles (semitendinosus, semimembranosus and biceps femoris) run down the back of the thigh and function to bend (flex) the knee and extend the hip.

Hamstring injuries most often involve a strain or partial tear of the muscle in the thigh. These injuries are common in athletes who participate in sports that involve running such as track, soccer, and basketball. Hamstring strains lead to pain and sometimes swelling in the back of the thigh, but healing occurs with rest and rehabilitation. Re-injury is common if return to sport precedes complete healing.

An avulsion injury, in which the hamstring tendon completely tears away from the pelvis bone, is a less common but more serious injury. This injury occurs with forceful eccentric contraction of the hamstring muscle, as occurs with water skiing, a frequent cause of hamstring avulsion injury.

Hamstring avulsion is a serious injury that may require surgery. An avulsion repair may be needed to reattach the torn hamstring tendon back to its normal position. During the tendon avulsion repair, an incision is made on the skin over the attachment of the hamstring tendon to the pelvic bone. The torn end of the hamstring tendon is located and grasped with forceps. Then the hamstring muscles are pulled back to their normal attachment. Then the tendon is reattached to the bone using sutures attached to small screws called suture anchors.

After surgery, you may need to use crutches and possibly a brace to protect your repair and keep it in a relaxed position. Your doctor will advise physical therapy, involving gentle stretching exercises, to restore normal function. Rehabilitation period of at least 3 to 6 months may be needed before returning to athletic activities.