Proximal Hamstring Tendon Injuries: Diagnosis and Management

Arthroscopy. 2021 Feb;37(2):435-437. doi: 10.1016/j.arthro.2020.12.201.


Proximal hamstring tendon injuries are common among active and athletic populations and exist on a spectrum ranging from proximal tendinopathy to partial tears to complete avulsions. Imaging should include plain radiography as bony avulsions have been observed in skeletally immature patients. Magnetic resonance imaging is diagnostic in the setting of both partial tears and complete tears. A high-intensity (on T2-weighted images), crescent-shaped signal at the tendon-bone interface ("sickle sign") is indicative of a partial-thickness tear of the proximal hamstring tendons. In the setting of complete avulsions, magnetic resonance imaging is also useful in demonstrating the extent of tendon avulsion and quantifying the number of tendons torn. Nonoperative treatment for proximal tendinopathy, acute partial tears, and complete tears with minimal tendon retraction includes activity modification, eccentric stretching and strengthening, and potentially platelet rich plasma injections. Surgical repair should be considered for partial tears refractory to nonoperative management, acute tears with greater than 2 cm of distal retraction, and/or chronic retracted tears. The surgical approach is generally made through a transverse incision within the gluteal crease, which can be extended distally in a "T" configuration in the setting of chronic retracted tears. In the setting of chronic retracted tears, a sciatic nerve neurolysis may be required owing to scarring. Following the surgical procedure, a graduated rehabilitation protocol is commenced with the expectation for a return to full, unrestricted activities by 6 months postoperative, and excellent outcomes can be anticipated. Compared with repair of chronic tears, acute repairs have improved functional outcomes and lower re-tear rates.

MeSH terms

  • Hamstring Tendons / injuries*
  • Hamstring Tendons / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Tendinopathy / surgery
  • Tendon Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Tendon Injuries / surgery