When you suffer pain in the hamstring, it could be caused by a hamstring tendon tear. This type of injury will cause pain in the back of your thigh. A hamstring tendon strain or a pulled hamstring is a commonly suffered injury due to sports. It can vary in grade and treatment options vary, as well.
If you’ve suffered from a hamstring tendon tear, you need the right Orthopedic Sports Medicine Surgeon in Atlanta. Dr. John Andrachuk offers the right treatment options with extensive experience with hamstring tendon tears and other sports injuries.
What are Hamstring Tendon Tears?
When you suffer any type of tear to the hamstring tendon, it is known as a hamstring tendon tear. Sometimes, this can be a very severe tear, while other times it is a partial tear, which isn’t as serious. A complete tear of the hamstring tendon means the tendon was torn away from the pelvis. An incomplete tear means the muscle was stretched too far and not detached.
Often, complete tears are looked at as a different injury compared to a partial tear. A partial tear may be labeled as a hamstring strain instead of a tear.
There are three grades of hamstring tendon tears:
- Grade 1- This is a mild hamstring strain, which is often called a pulled hamstring. The muscles were overstretched but didn’t actually tear.
- Grade 2 – If you have this type of hamstring tendon tear, it’s a partial tear. It’s more painful than a grade 1 strain and you will likely be limping.
- Grade 3 – The most severe hamstring tendon tear is a grade 3. This type of injury means the hamstring tendon has completely torn from the bone. It is often very painful and comes with a popping sensation or sound.
Common Causes of Hamstring Tendon Tears
A sudden flexing of the hip joint paired with the extension of the knee joint is the common way a complete hamstring tendon tear happens. In this position, the hamstring muscle contracts past its limits.
It is common to see hamstring tendon tears in athletes, especially high-level athletes. However, middle-aged individuals may also be at a higher risk for this injury. If you have suffered a past hamstring injury, you might be at a higher risk of this injury, too.
Poor flexibility and overtraining can also lead to hamstring tendon tears. If you train too hard, you might overload your hamstrings. Without good flexibility, you may not have the ability to stretch your muscles as far, as well.
Symptoms of Hamstring Tendon Tears
There are several symptoms of hamstring tendon tears including:
- A popping sound or sensation when the injury happens
- Sharp and sudden pain
- Swelling within a few hours
- Bruising over the first few days
- Tenderness in the hamstring area
- Complete or partial weakness in the leg
- Inability to put weight on your leg
If you have seen this type of injury happen during a football game, the athlete often needs help walking off the field. They cannot put weight on the leg injured if they suffered a complete hamstring tendon tear.
How Hamstring Tendon Tears are Diagnosed
Doctors often start with a physical exam to check for tenderness, bruising, and swelling. This will help the doctor decide how severe the injury is.
A common way to diagnose hamstring tendon tears is through an X-ray of the thigh or hip area. In some cases, a portion of the bone will be pulled from the pelvis and this can be seen through an X-Ray.
An MRI may also be used to evaluate the attachment of the hamstring. Ultrasound may also be used to help diagnose a hamstring tendon tear.
Hamstring Tendon Tears Treatment
RICE therapy is often the first line of treatment for hamstring tendon tears. This will include rest, ice, compression, and elevation. For strains, this might be enough to allow the hamstring to heal on its’ own.
Pain medication may also be used, such as NSAIDs. This medication may be needed for about a week to provide relief from the pain.
Physical therapy is often used for hamstring tendon tears, as well. This type of treatment can help to improve flexibility and range of motion. sometimes, physical therapy will start after the pain has subsided.
If you have suffered a complete tear or a partial hamstring tendon tear not healed with nonsurgical treatment, you might need surgery. During the surgery, the tear will be stitched. It’s common for hamstring surgeries to be used to treat avulsions. This means the surgeon will move the muscle into the correct position and stitch or staple it to the bone.
Hamstring Tendon Tears Recovery Time
Your recovery will depend on the grade of your hamstring tendon tear and the treatment. If you have a history of a torn hamstring, it can take longer to heal, as well.
A partial tear will likely take at least 4 to 8 weeks to recover from. If you suffer a complete hamstring tendon tear, expect a recovery time of at least three months. Those that undergo surgery may need longer to recover.
Schedule an Appointment Today!
Dr. Andrachuk provides extensive experience in treating hamstring tendon tear injuries. If you have suffered a hamstring injury during athletic activity or you are experiencing pain, it’s time to seek medical help. Dr. Andrachuk offers conservative treatments, along with the best astroscopic and minimally invasive techniques available to get you back on the field as soon as possible. Contact us today and schedule your in-person or telemedicine appointment!