just a mom figuring it out one day at a time

What is an avulsed hamstring?

“I don’t see anything on the MRI.” ‘Dr. J,’ my orthopedist responded.

Just as I was letting out a sigh of relief, Dr. J interrupted my thoughts.

“Wait, didn’t you say you had an injury last spring?”

“Yeah, I thought I pulled my hamstring last spring during the Mud Dog Race.” I casually responded. Last April a few friends and I had embarked on the Mud Dog, which of course had made it to my bucket list of things I wanted to do some day.  The race was filled with obstacles and mud-lots of mud. Just as I cleared the first creek and was climbing up the steep, chocolate embankment my left leg lost its footing. My right leg stayed in place, locked there by the root system I was wedged into and immediately there was a pop and a sharp shooting pain in my butt. Despite that, I pulled myself up and completed the race, dragging my right leg along. I had not been the same since and other issues had begun to develop. So much so I had spent a month in physical therapy to try and “fix” my problem.

I was met with momentary silence on the other end of the phone.

“Christina, you didn’t “pull” your hamstring last spring. But it does look like you peeled a good portion of it off the bone.” Dr. J went on to discuss what “could” be a possible surgical intervention, but truly he didn’t know. He was guessing and comparing it to the protocol for the rotator cuff repair he performed on me in 2009. He closed with, “you know I have only seen this once before in a tri-athlete, it’s a highly unusual injury… much like tearing your rotator cuff in your 30s- Christina you are a bit of an unusual patient.”

Hanging up the phone I sat there stunned and the reality began to sink in. My dreams of running the NYC Marathon in the fall were gone. Celebrating my daughter’s 7th birthday in Central Park during the marathon weekend was gone. Somewhere deep within me I knew that this was going mean another surgery and long road to recovery.

With this new knowledge I broke down into a full blown sob. I called my husband and broke the news, he sat there silent for a while just listening to me cry. Although my husband only runs when chased, after watching me run for the last seventeen years we have been together, on some level he “gets” what this means to me- even if he can’t understand it.

When I run, I get into a groove. My feet find a cadence all their own and I am off. Most days I am able to get into a zone, where there is nothing in my mind other than my breath and the nature around me. It is a moving mediation. Yes, some days are harder to get out the door than others, but almost always I feel 100% better after my run than if I had not run at all. I began running the spring of my freshman year at Boston College. Part of my “normal” run would often include Heartbreak Hill- part of the Boston Marathon course. I began running initially as a quest to get rid of the “Freshman 15” and later returned to it over and over again as a means to reduce stress. When I traveled for work, I always packed my running shoes. When I go on vacations I like to run to explore the areas we visit. Knowing that I would never qualify for Boston, my dream was to run New York and I was stunned last spring that I secured a lottery spot beating out hundreds of thousands of other applicants.

Now that was gone- at least for now.

Over the next few days I Googled hamstring rupture and hamstring avulsion in an attempt to understand my diagnosis-partial hamstring rupture at ischial tuberosity. There isn’t much out there. Even worse, it’s nearly impossible to find an orthopedist who even knows anything about the injury, much less operates on it. When I talked to my sister, a physical therapist, about it her response was, “that’s not even in my textbooks Tina.”

Through my research I found that this injury if most often found in water skiers and, get this, bull riders. Great. I have a rare injury, which very few doctors operate on. My search of the web and even injury chat sites continued until I found one name that was local, and two doctors in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh that were pioneers in developing a protocol for not only the surgery, but also for the follow-up repair. Within two days of my diagnosis, I had an appointment and met with the doctor. The lead physician for a major sports team, he was fantastic. He confirmed my injury and the need for surgery. That was the good news, the bad? He didn’t take insurance.

Over the next month I asked around and friends of mine in the medical profession did the same, all in an attempt to find someone with experience with this injury. After a month of searching and interviewing doctors, I found my surgeon who was also a lead physician for a sports team, only it was the Nationals and my surgery date became entirely dependent on how the Nats did in the playoffs. Needless to say, game five of the series against the Cardinals was a tense one in our house…

I am now two weeks post-op. In only two short weeks I have learned to navigate daily life on crutches and developed small ways to resume my routine. My children have really adapted and my husband, God bless him, has not only taken care of me but has assumed most of my mommy duties in the interim as well. I am not allowed yet to really sit, because the surgery is a literal and figurative pain the ass, but I have developed ways to creatively lean, lounge, sleep and hobble through a post hurricane, house with no power.

35 Responses to “What is an avulsed hamstring?”

  1. Jerilynn Ratcliff says:

    I just had a friend forward me this article. I too had a full hamstring avulsion during a tennis match in Dec 2011. My surgeon is from Stanford and had only done one other surgery before mine. I have found so very little information on this injury. I unfortunately have had some complications since the surgery because I went back to playing tennis and took a bad fall running in the mountains. I had a cortisone shot 3 weeks ago and it seems to have helped a little. I would be interested in knowing how your recovery has gone.

    • cnbrockett says:

      Jerilynn- It has been a little over a year and believe at this point that my hammie is nearly as strong as my other one. However I find that it still fatigues easier than my other leg. The biggest challenge for me honestly is trying to return to my running with good form- I still find that I am favoring it a bit and then that causes other issues. Have you done anything else besides getting the shot? Do you think that you’ve retorn it?

  2. J Boxill says:

    Could you please share your surgeons name?
    How long was your recovery?
    Thanks – facing same situation.

    • cnbrockett says:

      Hey- so sorry to hear that you’re facing the same situation. It took me a bit to find a surgeon with experience with hamstring repair- especially a surgeon who had performed more than one repair. As a reference, my right hamstring was 70% avulsed, the remaining 30% that was attached helped to facilitate the repair because the hamstring hadn’t fully retracted down my leg. Because I didn’t fully have a diagnoses until 5 months after the injury, I also had scar tissue around my sciatic nerve which needed to be removed, so I also was in search of someone with experience with that as well. I live around the DC area and the doctor I chose was Dr. Wiemi Douoguih out of Washington Hospital Center. He is a fantastic surgeon, highly skilled and I would recommend him to anyone. The only challenge that I had with him was that at the time of my surgery, the Nationals were in the playoffs and since he is one of their team surgeons I had to wait to see if they made it to the next round before confirming my surgery date.

      The other thing to ask/consider is the physical therapy component. My sister is a PT and had never had any experience with treating this injury. The PTs that I ultimately went to have been in business 25 plus years and also didn’t have experience, but worked closely with my doctor and also followed the protocol that he gave them. The rehab is incredibly important and once I left formal PT, I went on to further strengthen my hamstring 1-2 days a week on my own and working at times with a trainer experienced in injury rehab.

      It was six weeks until I could drive, because it was my right leg and I needed to be free of my brace to drive correctly. You also can’t sit for a long time as well because you don’t want to pull on the surgical site. Going to the bathroom can be tricky. There are lots of things that you can employ to make your recovery easier and I learned a lot from others who had experienced this injury from this forum: .

      I am now a little more than a year out and would say that my right hammie is as strong as my left, but does have a tendency to fatigue quicker. Unfortunately I compensated for my injury for so long, that my running gait is still not right and I still seem to favor it-but I am working on it. My doctor said most people are well recovered at 1 year but it could take 18 months to 2 years to really be fully back. Like I said, I feel fully recovered I just need to work on my gait more than anything else.

      Please let me know if there is anything else I can do to help you. It’s a really rough injury and I’m glad to help in any way that I can.

      • lmaggin says:

        My daughter, 13 years old, tore her hamstring (right below her left butt cheek) last Oct. We tried all the non-surgical remedies, but nothing worked. Surgery is scheduled for 12/18/14 at Children’s. Can you share any tips to help make life at home more comfortable? Any recommendations are greatly appreciated!

        • cnbrockett says:

          Hi Lmaggin-

          Sorry it has taken me so long to respond to you. Heading into the holidays was insane in my house and then we were hit by the flu. A few things I would recommend if you don’t already have them: (1) a toilet seat with one side angled so that her injured leg isn’t at a right angle when she sits; (2) a grabber for use in picking things up and trying to slide shoes on; (3) I wore short Ugg type boots while healing- they were easy to get on and off; (4) a hand shower to use in the shower-it makes bathing a lot easier.

          As for her healing and post op, find a good PT. Most don’t have experience with this injury but depending on how long she’s had the injury they will really need to focus on making sure that all of the muscles and nerves are firing correctly. For me, I had compensated for so long that I had certain muscle groups that “turned off.” I had met the criteria of PT of being able to be discharged but when I resumed my normal active life, I continued to have other issues. Because I “could” do all the activities for regular existence I guess it wasn’t picked up. Two years and a second PT later I finally feel strong and back to myself.

          I guess the other thing I would say is that this is a significant injury and hopefully, given the age of your daughter, it will heal quickly for her. My surgeon told me it would take 1-2 years before I felt “strong” again and it really did take close to 2 years.

          I will send positive thoughts your daughter’s way:-) Let me know how she is doing!

          Best-

          Tina

  3. donna skaggs says:

    I have recently been diagnosed with an avolution of all three hamstrings in my left leg.my main concern is my doctor wants to trade this conservative and hoped for the best that it will heal without surgical interventionI’m interested in what other people think about whether it should have surgery or not all three of the hamstrings have completely have our complete tears wants to centimeters away from the bone. I am much better I can walk now Hobbeling around. It has been three weeks .will I still have to get surgery to ever be stong and active again.wasany of your surgeon s endoscopic.

    • cnbrockett says:

      Sorry Donna for the delay in my response. I don’t know how I missed this. I did not have endoscopic surgery, he went in fully and removed the scar tissue around my sciatic nerve and then reattached the hamstring. As for surgery, that is a personal decision. For me, it was about looking at the long-term picture. I am “relatively” young and if I were to repair it, now would be the time. I also know from a biomechanical perspective that if it was left unrepaired, it would negatively impact my ability to perform daily functions for the rest of my life.

  4. jenny says:

    I am in the same boat and so relieved to find at least a couple of people with this. The doctors in my area have not performed many of these. One of the drs is suggesting conservative measures bc I have 3 small children and recovery would be rough. I just want to run! I think surgery might be the best route but would love to hear all thoughts. My tear is severe mostly off bone.

    • cnbrockett says:

      Jenny-

      Finding anyone with this injury is tough- and even harder is finding a doctor with experience with in. Where are you located? There are two doctors, one in Pittsburgh and the other in Philadelphia who pioneered the surgery on this. I would try and find someone who has experience with this surgery and is, at minimum, aware of these doctors’ work. The good news is that if you look long enough you will probably find someone with experience with it because from what I understand, it is becoming more correctly diagnosed and repaired. I too had a doctor who recommended a conservative approach. I went on to interview 3 more doctors until I reached a consensus of opinion on my case.

      At the time I had my surgery, my kids were 7 and 10. I tore about 70% of mine off of the bone. Not a complete tear, but significant. When I received my diagnosis, I spoke at length with my sister who is a physical therapist. One of my greatest concerns was the long-term impact on my regular biomechanics- which I had already seen change to compensate for the injury before I was correctly diagnosed. You use your hamstring for everything. Walking. Climbing stairs. Running after your kids. Due to my weakness in my hamstring, my inner thigh, quad and other leg began to compensate. Over time this led to an imbalance in my walking, knocked my sacrum out of whack and caused lower back and groin pain. Even after it was repaired, I was still dealing with uncovering and rehabbing muscle groups which had essentially “turned off” so they didn’t tax the hamstring.

      The GOOD NEWS is that you can recover from this surgery. It is time consuming and overwhelming but it can be done. For me, I felt I was young enough that I would rather have the surgery now, heal and rebuild than have to deal with trying to tackle the long term ramifications of having the injury. Personally I am glad I did. I am even happier that I feel stronger now than I did pre-surgery and in just a little more than two weeks I am schedule to run the NYC Marathon.

      Everyone’s decision is their own and I can only share what I experienced, why I made the decision I did and where I am today because of it. Best of luck to you, and if you find that you do have surgery please reach out again so I can give you all the tips I learned along the road to recovery :-)

      Best-

      Tina

  5. jenny says:

    Thank you so much for your response. I think I do have to interview more drs. I am in syracuse ny. The weird thing is I’m not in a lot of pain but like you said I worry about the effects long term. I just want my “reset” button back of working out and training…now I’m just a crank!

    • linda says:

      So happy to get info from this blog site. I tore all 3 hamstring muscles from the pelvis. I too, looked for info to decide on the avulsion of the hamstring repair. I did mine while pushing snow off of my new wood deck, very slippery, went down into the splits. I was lucky to have been to an orthopedic dr. in past years and got in right away, and xray showed nothing broken, but mri told the story. I was schedule for surgery in 3 days after that mri. /So happy to have done the surgery.
      the brace is a real pain, cant sit, onlylay and stand. I hate using the crutches, and just walk slowly, with little weight on the bad leg. Its hard staying down, has anyone else been walking around the house much after this surgery. linda

  6. jenny says:

    Day 7 post surgery…I made it one week…first couple of days were a medicated blur with a huge allergic reaction to surgical glue. Now I am feeling better and I knoww I would rather do this now than bear the long term agony of failing Pt. The final straw to do surgery was when I met with a well knkwn PT in the area and he told me he wouldn’t treat me until after the suergery. I can’t wait to hear about your marathon. Itgives me hope!

  7. steph says:

    Thank goodness I found this site. I am 9 weeks post a very bad fall. The MRI shows a 90% complete avulsion of my proximal hamstring with 2 cm retraction. My first doc said surgery not needed I am a competitive triathlete. 2nd ortho said candidate for surgery but he does not do them. I am now running into the same problem of finding a doc who, first….has done a few repairs and second….accepts my insurance. Very frustrating. I could work around the insurance but not thrilled about the time lapse in getting my hammy fixed.

    • KC says:

      Hi Steph,

      I used Dr Suzanne Miller at Boston Shoulder bostonssc.com. It’s been less than two weeks since my surgery so I can’t speak to the final result, but I will say I feel great and I’m very pleased with my care so far.

      I found her by googling hamstring avulsion and reading all of the papers I could find and she had authored several. She does quite a few of these surgeries. In the US I also saw papers written by doctors from Pennsylvania, Chicago and LA.

      Good luck!!

      • steph says:

        Thank you for the info KC. I am so glad to hear that 2 weeks post op you are doing pretty well.
        I think I have literally read every article on the web. At 10 weeks post accident I had delusions that I would be up and at least jogging or riding a bike on a flat course….. considering I cannot sit for more than 15 minutes a time I guess I was dreaming. I have an unstable leg by the end of the day, and the PT said no to a stationary bike and no “real” walking. I can’t even imagine running and I have just withdrawn from my remaining 3 tri races for the year.
        I finally found a Doc in my area (probably the only one) who has done a few hamstring repairs and I was able to get an appointment next week. I am hoping that there has not been too much time between accident and when I see him.
        How long between your diagnosis and your surgery? Are you going back to sports?

        • cnbrockett says:

          Steph,

          I feel your pain- really I do. I couldn’t sit and driving was really painful since it was my right leg. I would say that the encouraging thing is that the number of doctors performing these procedures is increasing. While 9 weeks isn’t great, I want to give you hope. My hamstring was 70-75% avulsed in April 2012 and I wasn’t correctly diagnosed until September and had surgery in October 2012. While I had some retraction, because I still had some attached it made reattaching it easier. Obviously the delay allowed more scar tissue to develop, which made things more challenging for my repair. That all said, I was repaired and last fall ran the NYC marathon. It wasn’t my best time, but I did it. We actually texted a picture of me with my medal to my surgeon thanking him.

          So here are a few things I would pass on:

          – Really interview your docs. Make sure they have experience with not only this repair but also are skilled with nerves. One of the risk factors with this surgery is floppy foot. For me, given the amount of scar tissue I had around my sciatic nerve, I was really concerned about this.
          – Talk to your PT and if you are a triathlete, I might even seek out a PT who specializes in runners. I went through PT, was discharged from it in February 2013 because I was “functional” but when I started to run again, I really had issues. Over the time from the initial injury to when I started running again, my body had learned to compensate and turned off a portion of my glute which completely altered my gait and caused a host of issues. I finally found my angel of a PT who specializes in runners and it was only May of 2014 where I was correctly evaluated and began the process of rebuilding my gait and was finally released to start training for NY in late July 2014. I essentially lost a year of solid training because I couldn’t get my gait corrected which was upsetting.

          I don’t know where you are geographically, but here is the info for the doctor and the PT that I used. Both are excellent:

          Dr. Wiemi Douoguih: http://services.medstarhealth.org/mwhc/doctors/dr-wiemi-douoguih/
          Rachel Miller: http://www.proactionpt.com

          Best of luck to you- please let me know if you have any questions or if there is any other way I can help out.

          Best-

          Tina

          • steph says:

            Thank You. I feel better reading the posts and it does give me hope. I live in Southern California and am seeing an orthopedist who treats the football team.
            My greatest fear, is that without surgery, I will not be the competitive person I was previous to the injury. I guess that wouldn’t be the end of the world but I’m not ready to give it, or my regular life up yet!

  8. KC says:

    >How long between your diagnosis and your surgery?

    It took me 3 weeks to get a diagnosis – I underestimated the injury and was slow to make an appt. A got the mri results, found my surgeon got in and had surgery all in a week. I’d suggest calling your doc back and see if they will see you sooner given time urgency of fixing it – once I mentioned this everything sped up – its in everyone’s best interest.

    I’d also start thinking about your support system when you are laid up, you need tons of help at the beginning. It was a mad rush for me – fortunately my wife is a saint.

    A couple random things that you might find useful:
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001B13PC2 – picks up the stuff you drop and your pants too.
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0016L4T8G – I owned one of these ice packs already I bought a second…they cold and comfortable…you will need these.

    I’d also ask you doc how the brace you post op – knee or hip. There is no good option, but I felt knee brace plus knee scooter made me more functional

  9. steph says:

    It was my PT who recommended that I get a 2nd or even 3rd opinion about surgery for my hamstring. He didn’t want to lose me as a patient but was very worried that the last 10% would tear during PT. Thank Goodness for him. After my visit with the surgeon (Team physician for SD Chargers – who has done a number of reattachments ) he said the hamstring should been re-attached 6 weeks ago. I guess I missed that mark. The 2nd important mark is 12 weeks. Apparantly after 12 weeks, recovery to pre-rupture athletic ability becomes a bit more challenging. I had my surgery 10 days ago and am finally headed in the right direction.
    Post surgery is every bit as challenging as everyone on this post has explained. The first week was a pain killer haze with the very dreaded trip to the loo, but in week 2 I have learned to navigate the obstacles of post hammy surgery.
    I have been getting around primarily on a walker (suggested by the surgeon) as it allows me to put a small amount of weight on my leg while still having stability.
    I had my post op this week and I am healing great! Doc said I could get in a pool next week as long as I used a pull buoy but he said getting in / out of the pool might be a challenge. I am not sure I am ready for that task yet. Sitting is the biggest challenge but each day I am able to sit for a tad bit longer than the day before (as long as I have my trusty cushion and a gel icepack). I can’t even imagine trying to drive a car (even though it was my left leg) until my rear can tolerate sitting in a safe position.
    I am going a little stir crazy as this is the first time in my life that I have been relegated to a position of lying down or standing on a walker or crutches. Apparently they will be my trusty companions for another 3 weeks. I am praying that I will feel good enough soon to get out for an airing!
    Any tips or advice from y’all would be appreciated.

  10. Cathy says:

    My almost 15 year old some has an avulsion of the usual tuberosity where it is a complete avulsion of the tendon and it also your a piece of bone off with it which is common in adolescents because there is an apophysis there which is not fussed together yet. It is a growth plate area and the bone is weak and someone’s takes a piece of bone with it when it treats off. He did it 7 1/2 weeks ago and was meeting treated for a bad hamstring again by the school athletic trainer. We just got the X-ray which showed the piece of bone torn away and we also just got the MRI which shows a full thickness year of the tendon (not due if just one tendon or all 3 – or maybe they all 3 merge together there as 1 tendon – I’m not real sure and will ask). My son is doing well and can do drills and run some and he was even doing the Chuck Berry hop on the bad leg the other day without pain, lol. He says it stools hurts after sitting awhile, on the butt bone. It must be forming new bone around the chopped bone for him to be feeling better. The first orthopedic week did the xray and ordered the MRI, days it would have been best to fix it immediately 6-7 weeks ago and that now we are in a great area as to do it out not. This morning we are seeing a partner of his who does these surgeries. I am a complete mess about it all. Soccer is my kids life! He did this in a summer preseason tournament and was so looking forward to playing for high school this year, his freshman year. He was going to be the start, lol. He’s really a great player and the coach of him on the team. We all thought it was a hamstring strain and that he would be better by now. I really don’t know what to do. He also plays at a high level in a club/select team and would have liked to possibly play in college also. He is so very positive and knows he still has 3 years and that his junior/senior year will be his best. I feel so awful for him! I am thinking the Dr today may want to just keeping doing conservative rehab since he’s doing so well now, although I think it’s still going to be a while before he can really run/sprint all out. He’s a very fast/aggressive player also. My son thinks he wants to just do what it takes and do the surgery now so he can get better now versus waiting another 6 months and then still having to do the surgery. I also worry because he has Protein S deficiency which is a clotting disorder. He has never had any issues himself, my sister has had blood clots and a stroke so all the family was genetically tested and I have it along with 2 of my son’s – so surgery is scary. Sorry to write so much, but maybe someone can give me advice?

  11. Cathy says:

    SORRY, I had a lot of typos there since I typed that on my phone. I corrected them below and re-typed it!

    Cathy says:
    SEPTEMBER 2, 2015 AT 7:47 AM
    My almost 15 year old son has an avulsion of the usual tuberosity where it is a complete avulsion of the tendon and it also tore a piece of bone off with it which is common in adolescents because there is an apophysis there which is not fussed together yet. It is a growth plate area and the bone is weak and sometimes takes a piece of bone with it when it tears off. He did it 7 1/2 weeks ago and was being treated for a bad hamstring strain by the school athletic trainer. We just got the X-ray which showed the piece of bone torn away and we also just got the MRI which shows a full thickness tear of the tendon (not sure if just one tendon or all 3 – or maybe they all 3 merge together there as 1 tendon – I’m not real sure and will ask). My son is doing well and can do drills and run some and he was even doing the Chuck Berry hop on the bad leg the other day without pain, lol. He says it still hurts after sitting awhile, on the butt bone. It must be forming new bone around the chipped bone for him to be feeling better. The first orthopedic dr did the xray and ordered the MRI, says it would have been best to fix it immediately 6-7 weeks ago and that now we are in a gray area as to do it or not. This morning we are seeing a partner of his who does these surgeries. I am a complete mess about it all. Soccer is my kids life! He did this in a summer preseason tournament and was so looking forward to playing for high school this year, his freshman year. He was going to be the star, lol. He’s really a great player and the coach put him on the team. We all thought it was a hamstring strain and that he would be better by now. I really don’t know what to do. He also plays at a high level in a club/select team and would have liked to possibly play in college also. He is so very positive and knows he still has 3 years and that his junior/senior year will be his best. I feel so awful for him! I am thinking the Dr today may want to just keeping doing conservative rehab since he’s doing so well now, although I think it’s still going to be a while before he can really run/sprint all out. He’s a very fast/aggressive player also. My son thinks he wants to just do what it takes and do the surgery now so he can get better now versus waiting another 6 months and then still having to do the surgery. I also worry because he has Protein S deficiency which is a clotting disorder. He has never had any issues himself, my sister has had blood clots and a stroke so all the family was genetically tested and I have it along with 2 of my son’s – so surgery is scary. Sorry to write so much, but maybe someone can give me advice?

    reply

    • cnbrockett says:

      Sorry it has taken me a bit to get back to you Cathy. I don’t know what you decided but I would suggest getting several opinions and then look at the consensus. I know that with me, I waited due to inaccurate diagnosis and that the wait caused a lot of scar tissue to build. I also chose to have the surgery because I am fairly active and wanted to stay that way and figured in my 40s it would be better to have it now while I could heal well than to wait. I don’t know what else to say except I wish you well and hope that you come to a decision which works for you and your family.

  12. NYC Athlete says:

    Hi All – I have a 3 tendon avulsion with 3.5cm retraction. My doctor in NYC is advising not to get surgery because I’m not in pain and my function is slowly coming back (walking fine, running improving, spin class fine, etc). However I’m nervous about not fixing it, because it’s hard to find cases where people did not get surgery and are fine.

    For all who GOT the surgery, were you in pain before? how much retraction did you have?

    For all who did NOT get the surgery, how are you faring?

    If any of you know more people that did NOT get the surgery, I would be so grateful if you let me know about them. There is so little information out there. Hard to decide what to do. Thank you so much!

    • cnbrockett says:

      NYC Athlete,

      Don’t know how far you’ve gotten with your search for people who have not had the surgery. Initially I contemplated not having it but ultimately decided to because I knew that over time I would find ways to be functional through compensation. But, that compensation would eventually lead to other issues. Even with the surgery, my body had learned to compensate by turning muscles groups off which caused imbalances. It took multiple PTs and a few years of working through the issue to regain full function, where everything was working as it was intended.

      Only you can decide what is best for you, but I would get 2 more opinions from other doctors and see what they have to say before making a decision either way.

      Best-

      Tina

    • steph says:

      NYC Athlete
      Not sure what you decided to do but I am now 5 months tendon repair and better than before surgery. At 11 weeks post injury I had some residual pain and I was learning to compensate. The downside: I didn’t feel that I would be able to return to long distance triathlon and put my best effort forward without some deficiency. Now, at 5 months post op– on any given day I can run 4 -5 miles, bike 45 miles and swim any distance – pain free.
      Fixing the rupture is purely a matter of what is best for you. For me…. I wouldn’t hesitate to surgically fix my other hamstring if it were to happen again.
      Hope this helps and you are getting better.

      • NYC Athlete says:

        Hi Steph! Thanks so much for your reply. Means the world to me. Sounds like your surgery was incredibly successful. And great to here that there was so much improvement in the 4th and 5th month, the body’s healing is so miraculous.
        May I ask you, how soon after injury did you get the surgery? And how far retracted were your tendons (were you in pain or discomfort before)?
        Thank you so much.

        • steph says:

          Good Afternoon NYC!
          I had a complete rupture with a 2cm retraction.
          I had 6 weeks before I felt comfortable without walking, sitting at 6 weeks was the most uncomfortable (couldn’t sit for more than 5-10 mins). At 6 weeks I was still uncomfortable walking, I had an odd gait from the rupture and was less than thrilled that I wouldn’t be able to race at my pre injury ability. I started PT at 6 weeks (no surgery yet) and it was the PT who said that I should get another opinion because of the degree of the tear. As I’m sure you have discovered – information on this type of injury is almost non existent – and finding someone in my area who has had experience with these injuries and experience in repairing them is also nearly non existent. At 11 weeks post injury, I discovered that there was one physician (professional sports team doc) in my area who had both knowledge and experience with this surgery. I saw him at the 11 week mark and he said it was important to fix this type of injury sooner rather than later. So, I was on the OR table the next week. The information that everyone posted on this website was extremely helpful because it helped me to realize that this was a slow, long and yes sometimes extremely painful process. Knowing what to expect helped with the realization that the post surgical process was temporary and at 8 weeks post op I was much more normal than 8 weeks post injury. I hope this information helps – How old is your injury? What is your retraction?

          • LanceB says:

            FOR ANYONE WHO HAS THE SURGERY…

            I had my right hamstring tendons reattached almost a year after the injury, during which time it got more and more painful to sit upright. It has been four weeks since my surgery now and I’m looking forward to taking off the brace and walking without support.

            Presently it is even more painful to sit upright. I suppose this due to the surgery, but DOES THE PAIN WHILE SITTING GO AWAY once it has sufficiently healed? Life without being able to sit in comfort is a torment. I haven’t found any comments about this in patient forums, and would really appreciate hearing from those of you who have been through it. What was your experience with regard to sitting after surgery?

          • KC says:

            Sitting pain was definitely a driver for having the surgery. It felt like I was sitting on a small rock (or maybe a tendon).

            After surgery, I was also quite uncomfortable but the pain was different, more spread out perhaps, but painful to sit all but the softest of chairs. It definitely was bad for 3-4 weeks or more before it started to improve. I bought an air cushion made for a wheelchair that was essential for awhile, so it was worse than pre surgery for awhile. Your incision is still healing and there is a nice thick band of scar tissue under that. You PT program should include massage of that scar tissue that will help it fade. For me the scar tissue improved greatly from the start of PT at week 6 to say week 12.

            FWIW if you are in pain, there is lots of research out there saying you should be very consistent about taking you pain meds otherwise those pain nerves stay lit up (for me that was ibuprofen 4x/day). And don’t stop the ice treatments, I like these: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0016L4T8G …very soft :)

  13. Cindy says:

    Hi well found this site little late but will try, I tore semimembranous is what I was told from MRI which I did not have till 3 weeks after slip/fall- was referred to Orthodox surgeon but only P.A. available which she told me 40% risk of infection if it was her she’s would not do it, I asked her is she using my age 59 and not athlete- I like to hike, bike ride and do cancer 60 mile walk/3 days. Then seen sport med Dr he is referring me to another ortho Dr he said if anyone cash do it he can doesn’t sound reassuring. Well appointment today I am so confused between surgery and non surgery already 8 weeks, I am worried about scar tissue/sciatic nerve. Any opinion appreciated. Thank you Cindy

    • melissa says:

      You’ve said very little about your condition – are you in pain, can you walk without pain, can you sit without pain, what are your current limitations? Need to understand your current pain and function condition to weigh the benefits of surgery.

    • Stephanie Robins says:

      Cindy,
      I am 55 year old female who ruptured my Hamstring Mid May 2015 and was told “really didn’t need to be fixed”. I am an active triathlete and after 8 weeks was not walking correctly. I wanted my pre accident accident life back. Had it fixed 12 weeks after the accident (mostly because it is difficult to find an ortho with experience with this surgery). Could not be happier that I had it reattached and would do it all over again if I tore again or the other side. Yes, it is uncomfortable and it took 12 weeks before I was able to walk without crutches. 16 weeks to be off a cane and sit for more than an hour. But exactly one year after I tore my hamstring I raced a bike event and did a PR. Also getting ready for Ironman race – 17 months post op. Everyone is different and you must choose what works for you. In my case… surgery was the fix.
      Hope this helps.

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