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Proximal Hamstring Tear

Overview

The hamstrings are a group of muscles on the posterior (back) side of the thigh. They play an important function in hip extension and knee flexion. There are 4 muscles including the semitendinosis, semimembranosis, and the long and shorts heads of the biceps femoris.

What Causes a Proximal Hamstring Rupture?

A tear of the proximal hamstrings denotes a rupture of the origin of the tendons from the ischial tuberosity of the pelvis (or sits bones) at the gluteal fold. They are generally an acute injury such as a fall or with water skiing or other sport activities. In most cases, there is a combined hyper-flexion force to the hip while the knee is held in extension – or the same hamstring stretch one would do before starting a workout activity. However, if the force is sudden and severe, it may lead to an overload of the hamstring muscles and their tendon attachments to the bone.

What Kind of Symptoms Would I Feel With a Proximal Hamstring Rupture?

An acute tear of the proximal hamstring from their origin on the ischial tuberosity may result in sudden pain at the gluteal fold at the buttock. A severe tear that completely avulses the hamstrings can lead to a significant hematoma that may extend down the thigh, behind the knee and into the leg. You might feel significant weakness with extending your hip or flexing your knee and it may be difficult to sit down or walk. With time, they can lead to persistent pain in the gluteal fold or at the buttock or “sits bones” region with simple activities such as sitting on a hard surface. They can also lead to significant pain and weakness with activities such as running, skating, jumping, and squatting.

Treatment for a Proximal Hamstring Rupture

For acute injuries in active patients, you may be recommended to undergo surgery to repair the tendons back to the tuberosity. This is the preferred treatment in patients who plan to return to running, jumping, and squatting activities. This may be performed through an endoscopic technique by inserting a small camera into the area of the rupture and repairing the tendons to the bone with sutures. This procedure has a very high success rate in treating pain and restoring strength to the hamstring tendons. Results are improved if the repair is performed in the acute phase, or within the first 3 weeks from injury. If the tear is too large or too retracted, an open hamstring repair may be performed with excellent results treating pain in restoring strength to the hamstring tendons. Chronic tears may require an open approach as well. In some cases with significant retraction, a graft may be required to make up the distance between the retracted tear and bone.

What is the Post Op Period Like for a Hamstring Repair?
The post-surgical recovery for a proximal hamstring repair involves at least 6 weeks of restricted weight bearing with crutches of an assistive device and possibly a hip brace. This helps protect the early healing process of the tendon to bone. Physical therapy will be important in restoring post-surgical hamstring strength and range of motion of the hip and knee.
Location of Dr. J. Pieter Hommen - Orthopedic Surgeon & Sports Medicine

Baptist Hospital

8940 N. Kendall Drive
Suite 101 East, Miami, FL 33176

Office Hours

  • Monday - Thursday : 8:30 am - 5:00 pm
  • Friday : 8:30 am - 3:00 pm

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Fax : (305) 520-5628

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