The Different Types of Hamstring Tears: Their Characteristics and How They Behave

Have you ever injured your hamstring, completed rehabilitation just for it to go again on your first run? Or heard about the niggly hamstring long after the initial injury. Or had that feeling it’s not quite right. These could be characteristics of different types of hamstring tears that all need their own rehabilitation programs and careful considerations.

To understand this blog, you must first learn a little anatomy of the hamstring. The hamstrings are a group of three muscles located at the back of the thigh. They originate from the ischial tuberosity (sit bone) of the pelvis and insert onto the tibia and fibula bones of the lower leg. The three muscles are the biceps femoris (long and short head), semitendinosus, and semimembranosus.

The musculotendinous junction is the point at which the muscle fibres transition into tendon fibres. In the case of the hamstrings, this is at the junction, where the muscle fibres join to form the tendon that attaches to the ischial tuberosity.

The individual muscle fibres of the hamstrings are responsible for flexing the knee joint and extending the hip joint. This movement is important in activities such as running, jumping, and kicking.

Now we understand the hamstrings, let’s get onto the injuries. The location of the injury is an important aspect to know. In the middle of the hamstring muscles, you will likely find a muscle belly tear. The higher up on the lower leg you will likely have injuries to the tendon or where the muscle meets the tendon. These will have a longer recovery time. If the pain is felt down towards the knee there is a chance of this being a T-junction injury. This is where the tendon meets the muscle at the other far (distal) end of the muscle. These have an extremely high re-rupture rate if not rehabilitated correctly.

Rehabilitation for these injuries is diverse, however, for the most part you can be light running in early weeks a alongside strength and power work. This is usually when symptoms begin to settle down and strength begins to return. This will be slower for injuries that have tendon involvement. This rule does have one exception, T-junction injuries are generally symptom free at the 3–4-week mark. However, on scanning the scarring formed at the injuries site is immature, meaning, if you were to run there is a high likelihood of re-tearing the hamstring.

As you can now see, the old pulled hammy needs a specific rehabilitation program. This needs to be accompanied by an accurate diagnosis and well thought out strength, power and running program.

If you find yourself with a sore, tight, or injured hamstring book an appointment with us today. Whether it be from elite level competition or trying to relive the glory years in social sport, we can help.

Lachie Stewart – BeFit Training Physio Double Bay

Lachie Stewart – BeFit Training Physio Double Bay

Lachie Stewart is a physiotherapist based in Double Bay in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. Lachie has successfully treated musculoskeletal problems on the basis of a thorough assessment and diagnosis coupled with evidence-based rehabilitation programs tailored to the needs and goals of each individual. Lachie specialises in Sports injuries, headaches and ACL rehabilitation. To book a consultation, click the link below.

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