Hamstring tendon rupture

This is a complete tear of one of the hamstring tendons at the back of the knee. It occurs as a definite injury when there is forceful contraction of the hamstrings against resistance. It is rare, but is most often seen during sprinting.

You will feel a sudden pain behind the knee which may be associated with a snapping or tearing sound and sensation. This will usually stop you from continuing sport and will cause you to walk with a limp.

This is a serious injury and you will usually need to go to hospital where the diagnosis can be made in accident and emergency. Surgery is required within the first 14 days, so you may not be kept in hospital but put in a cast or brace with the knee partially flexed. You should arrange to see Mr Willis-Owen promptly for surgery to repair your tendon as soon as possible. Rest, ice, compression and elevation are useful in the first few days to limit the bleeding and swelling.

After the initial emergency treatment Mr Willis-Owen will assess the knee for further damage. An ultrasound scan can be used to confirm the diagnosis if there is any doubt. The treatment is surgery to repair the ruptured tendon, followed by a period of time in plaster then braces and careful rehabilitation to get the knee moving and the muscle strength back. You will need to be seen urgently and Mr Willis-Owen will always do his best to carry out your surgery within a few days of your injury. It is well worth seeing someone with considerable experience of this injury as getting the length of the repaired tendon right is critical to making a good recovery.