A full or partial rupture can occur in the hamstring tendons as they insert into the back of the knee.
Symptoms of hamstring tendon rupture
Symptoms include a sudden sharp pain in the back of the knee. There may be swelling, tenderness and heat coming from the point where the tendon inserts into the knee. The athlete may feel pain when bending the knee against resistance.
Hamstring tendon rupture explained
The hamstring muscles consist of the biceps femoris, semitendinosus and semimembranosus. The muscles insert at the back of the knee via tendons. It is possible for these tendons to be torn during an explosive movement or kicking action.
Treatment of hamstring tendon ruptures
What can the athlete do?
Apply cold therapy or R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, elevation) as soon as possible. Ice can be applied for 10 minutes every hour during the acute stage which is usually 24 to 48 hours depending on how bad the injury is. Do not apply ice or a gel ice pack directly to the skin but wrap in a wet tea towel.
After the first 2 or 3 days when the tendon has started to calm down alternating hot and cold. Commercially available gel packs are ideal for this purpose as they can be warmed in hot water or carefully in the microwave, or frozen. Wear a heat retainer or knee support to support the tendon and retain the bodies heat which will aid the healing process.
See a sports injury professional who can advise on rehabilitation.
What can a sports injury specialist or doctor do?
A doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen to help with the pain and inflammation in the early stags.Anti inflammatory medication may not be as effective in the later stages and may even restrict healing. Do not take this if you have asthma. Sports massage may be beneficial in remodeling the scar tissue and improving the condition of the hamstring muscles themselves.
For very sever tendon strains and complete ruptures the knee may be immobilized in a plaster cast or a surgeon may operate to repair the damaged tendon.
A full rehabilitation program consisting of stretching, strengthening exercises should be done to restore the athlete to full fitness.