Sciatic nerve injury after proximal hamstring avulsion and repair

Thomas J. Wilson, Robert J. Spinner, Rohith Mohan, Christopher M. Gibbs, Aaron J. Krych

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background: Muscle bellies of the hamstring muscles are intimately associated with the sciatic nerve, putting the sciatic nerve at risk of injury associated with proximal hamstring avulsion. There are few data informing the magnitude of this risk, identifying risk factors for neurologic injury, or determining neurologic outcomes in patients with distal sciatic symptoms after surgery. Purpose: To characterize the frequency and nature of sciatic nerve injury and distal sciatic nerve–related symptoms after proximal hamstring avulsion and to characterize the influence of surgery on these symptoms. Study Design: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3. Methods: This was a retrospective review of patients with proximal partial or complete hamstring avulsion. The outcome of interest was neurologic symptoms referable to the sciatic nerve distribution below the knee. Neurologic symptoms in operative patients were compared pre- and postoperatively. Results: The cohort consisted of 162 patients: 67 (41.4%) operative and 95 (58.6%) nonoperative. Sciatic nerve–related symptoms were present in 22 operative and 23 nonoperative patients, for a total of 45 (27.8%) patients (8 [4.9%] motor deficits, 11 [6.8%] sensory deficits, and 36 [22.2%] with neuropathic pain). Among the operative cohort, 3 of 3 (100.0%) patients showed improvement in their motor deficit postoperatively, 3 of 4 (75.0%) patients’ sensory symptoms improved, and 17 of 19 (89.5%) patients had improvement in pain. A new or worsening deficit occurred in 5 (7.5%) patients postoperatively (2 [3.1%] motor deficits, 1 [1.5%] sensory deficit, and 3 [4.5%] with new pain). Predictors of operative intervention included lower age (odds ratio [OR], 0.952; 95% CI, 0.921-0.982; P =.001) and complete avulsion (OR, 10.292; 95% CI, 2.526-72.232; P <.001). Presence of neurologic deficit was not predictive. Conclusion: Sciatic nerve–related symptoms after proximal hamstring avulsion are underrecognized. Currently, neurologic symptoms are not considered when determining whether to pursue operative intervention. Given the high likelihood of improvement with surgical treatment, neurologic symptoms should be considered when making a decision regarding operative treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2325967117713685
JournalOrthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2017


  • Hamstring
  • Hamstring avulsion
  • Hamstring repair
  • Sciatic nerve

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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