As with many of the muscle groups in your body, you often don’t realize how important your hamstrings are until you suffer an injury that takes them out of action or, worse, causes you considerable pain.
Luckily, Dr. Struan Coleman has extensive experience repairing torn hamstrings, allowing his patients in New York City to get back to an active and healthy lifestyle as quickly as possible. While surgery of any kind isn’t the best of news, with Dr. Coleman’s capable hands and cutting-edge surgical techniques, you can come back as strong as ever.
Here’s a look at how Dr. Coleman repairs a torn hamstring and what you can expect afterward.
The anatomy of a hamstring tear
Before we get into the surgical repair of a hamstring, it may be helpful to step back and take a look at the anatomy of this group of muscles. Your hamstrings are the muscles that run down the backs of your thighs, and they help you extend your legs and bend your knees.
The three muscles that make up your hamstring — semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and biceps femoris — run from the bottom of your pelvis, down the back of your leg, across your knee, and attach to the top of your shinbone.
Given the importance and workload of this muscle group in how your legs move, an injury is not uncommon, especially among athletes. Many hamstring tears occur where they attach to your lower pelvis through your tendons, detaching from the bone, either fully or partially. You may also completely or partially tear your hamstring in the thick, middle part of the muscle in the back of your leg. In less common cases, your hamstring can tear farther down, where it meets your lower leg.
Am I surgical?
To determine whether your tear is surgical, we perform a complete evaluation of your injury, relying on advanced diagnostic imaging to determine the severity and location of your tear. If we find that your muscle is still largely intact and only strained, we may recommend a more conservative approach to your problem, which means rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE).
If we find a partial or complete tear, we evaluate the extent of the tear to determine the next steps. In most cases, a complete tear requires surgery, especially one that takes a piece of your bone with it, which is called an avulsion injury. We have found that leaving tears to heal on their own often doesn’t offer the same successful outcomes as surgical intervention. With surgical repair, Dr. Coleman ensures that he reattaches or reconnects your muscle properly to avoid the complications that can come with a hamstring that doesn’t heal correctly by itself.
If you have a proximal tendon avulsion at your pelvis or a distal tendon avulsion from your shinbone, Dr. Coleman goes in and removes any scar tissue and reattaches the muscle to your bone. If you have a tear in the middle of your muscle that doesn’t involve your tendons, Dr. Coleman brings the muscle back together and sews it in place.
Dr. Coleman uses minimally invasive techniques whenever possible, which means he goes in arthroscopically through very small incisions using specialized tools equipped with a camera. This procedure cuts down on collateral tissue damage and helps speed up your recovery time.
Whether he goes in arthroscopically or turns to an open procedure, you should count on a full course of rest and physical therapy in order to restrengthen your muscles and avoid reinjury. Rest assured, Dr. Coleman works with you every step of the way to get you back on your feet as quickly as possible.
If you’d like to explore your options in hamstring repair, please call us or use the online form on this website to schedule a consultation.