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Distal tears of the hamstring muscles: review of the literature and our results of surgical treatment
  1. Lasse Lempainen1,
  2. Janne Sarimo2,
  3. Kimmo Mattila3,
  4. Jouni Heikkilä2,
  5. Sakari Orava2
  1. 1Department of Surgery, Satakunta Central Hospital, Pori, Finland
  2. 2Mehiläinen Sports Trauma Research Center and Mehiläinen Hospital and Sports Clinic, Turku, Finland
  3. 3Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Medical Imaging Centre of Southwest Finland, Turku University Hospital, Turku, Finland
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr L Lempainen
 Department of Surgery, Satakunta Central Hospital, Sairaalantie 3, FI – 28500 Pori, Finland; lasse.lempainen{at}


Background: Hamstring strains are among the most frequent injuries in sports, especially in events requiring sprinting and running. Distal tears of the hamstring muscles requiring surgical treatment are scarcely reported in the literature.

Objective: To evaluate the results of surgical treatment for distal hamstring tears.

Design: A case series of 18 operatively treated distal hamstring muscle tears combined with a review of previously published cases in the English literature. Retrospective study; level of evidence 4.

Setting: Mehiläinen Sports Trauma Research Center, Mehiläinen Hospital and Sports Clinic, Turku, Finland.

Patients: Between 1992 and 2005, a total of 18 athletes with a distal hamstring tear were operated at our centre.

Main outcome measurements: At follow-up, the patients were asked about possible symptoms (pain, weakness, stiffness) and their return to the pre-injury level of sport.

Results: The final results were rated excellent in 13 cases, good in 1 case, fair in 3 cases and poor in 1 case. 14 of the 18 patients were able to return to their former level of sport after an average of 4 months (range 2–6 months).

Conclusions: Surgical treatment seems to be beneficial in distal hamstring tears in selected cases.

  • MRI, magnetic resonance imaging
  • MTJ, myotendinous junction

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  • Published Online First 29 November 2006

  • Funding: This study was supported financially by the Satakunta Central Hospital District (EVO), the Finnish Cultural Foundation and the Finnish Sports Research Foundation.

  • Competing interests: None.