Prevention of hamstring injuries in sport: A systematic review
Hamstring strains are one of the most prevalent and recurrent injuries in sport. The main mechanism of hamstring injuries involves the eccentric muscle loading associated with the terminal swing-phase during sprinting. Risk factors for hamstring strains can be divided into intrinsic risk and extrinsic factors. The main aim of this study was to develop strategies for the prevention of hamstring injuries in sport. A systematic review methodology was used to analyse evidence-based strategies for preventing hamstring injuries in sport. The search strategies used online database searching, hand searching, snowballing and keyword searches. Only articles published between 2000 and 2013 were considered. Strict inclusion and exclusion criteria were applied. Of the 1153 articles reviewed, 32 articles were evaluated in depth. Finally, only four studies were analysed. Three of the four studies used interventions consisting of Nordic eccentric hamstring exercise training, while the fourth study used a variety of eccentric exercises. All reported a significant decrease in hamstring injuries (p<0.05). Two studies identified significant risk factors for hamstring injuries, namely increasing age (>24 years), previous hamstring injury (within the last 12 months) and thigh muscle imbalances. The performance of eccentric hamstring exercises has a preventative effect on hamstring injuries in sport.
Keywords: Hamstring; Injury prevention; Nordic hamstring eccentric exercise.