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Hamstring Tear / Rupture

The hamstring is a muscle in the back of the leg. Hamstring tear or rupture is a common sports-related injury.

Hamstring Tear / Rupture

Top left, Dr. Snibbe walking. Top right, bones on display. Bottom left, Dr. Snibbe flexing a patient's leg at the knee. Bottom right, Dr. Snibbe in scrubs.

Hamstring tear or rupture

Patients with a hamstring strain typically describe a sudden onset of pain in the back of the thigh that occurred under exertion such as running. Patients who have sustained a hamstring tear may experience pain at the lower crease of the buttock. Hearing or feeling a pop in the back of the leg is also common with strains and ruptures. Some patients will experience pain with sitting too.

If a rupture of the hamstring is suspected, an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is ordered to confirm. However, most hamstring injuries are self-limiting. Initial treatment includes applying ice as well as heat and a compression bandage as needed. Patients also will be put in a course of physical therapy to work on stretching and strengthening exercises. NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen, Advil, Aleve, etc.) are used to reduce pain and inflammation.

If conservative treatment fails or if chronic hamstring injuries occur, patients may benefit from an open proximal hamstring repair. Open proximal hamstring repair is also indicated for traumatic tears in active patients.

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