In our combined experience the number one injury suffered by football players is hamstring injuries. There are a number of reasons why football players suffer hamstring injuries. Here are the top 3 reasons.
Askling et al (2003) evaluated whether a preseason strength training program for the hamstrings- emphasizing eccentric overloading – could affect the occurrence and severity of hamstring injuries during the subsequent football season. Thirty elite Swedish footballers were divided into two groups; one group performed additional specific hamstring training, whereas the other did not. Eccentric overloading of the hamstrings 1-2 times a week for 10 weeks, resulted in significantly less hamstring injuries and significant increases in strength and speed in these players.
CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: hamstring strengthening exercises reduces hamstring injuries.
Sherry and Best (2004) found a rehabilitation program consisting of progressive agility and trunk stabilization exercises (planks, side bridging and bridging) was more effective than a program emphasizing isolated hamstring stretching and strengthening (prone knee bends and TB hip extensions) in promoting return to sports and preventing injury recurrence in athletes suffering an acute hamstring strain. However, the strengthening program was quite poor in design and would not offer significant overload to strengthen the hamstrings.
CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: hamstring strengthening exercises should be combined with trunk stabilization exercises.
Muscle tightness is frequently postulated as an intrinsic risk factor for muscle injury. To investigate this, Witvrouw et al (2003) measured the flexibility of the hamstring, quads, adductor and calf muscles of 146 Belgian footballers prior to the start of the season. These players had no history of muscle injury in the lower extremities in the previous 2 years. Players with a hamstring or quadriceps muscle injury were found to have significantly lower flexibility in these muscles before their injury compared with the uninjured group.
CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: hamstring and quadriceps flexibility testing can identify players at risk of developing hamstring and quadriceps muscle injuries.
Many college and professional sports teams recognize the benefit of compression therapy, especially for preventing and healing injuries to the legs. Regular use of compression recovery boots in the training room is often required, so that players stay healthy and don’t miss playing time because of injury.
Turl and George (1998) investigated the presence of adverse neural tension (slump test) and hamstring flexibility (using the active knee extension in lying test) in 14 male Rugby Union players with a history of grade 1 repetitive hamstring strain. Comparison was made to an injury-free matched control group. Results indicated that 57% of the group with repetitive hamstring strain had positive slump tests, suggesting the presence of adverse neural tension. None of the control group had a positive slump test. There were also no differences in flexibility between groups or between those demonstrating a positive or negative slump test.
CLINICAL SIGNIFICANCE: neural tightness plays a role in hamstring re-injury and needs to be addressed in the rehabilitation program.
If you are an athlete that suffers hamstring injuries book to see an expert sports physiotherapist or personal trainer today to get your problem resolved.