Hamstring injury rehabilitation in Soccer - does it work?

Hamstring muscle injuries (HMI) are consistently the most prevalent time-loss injury in football and are prone to reoccurrence.

In football - and by football, I mean not just soccer, but ALL codes, including rugby league and union and American and Australian Rules football - acute hamstring injuries mainly involve the biceps femoris muscle, more often than the semimembranosus or semitendinosus, and typically occur during high-speed running.

Since the net moment developed by the hamstrings is thought to be maximal in the late swing phase, right before heel strike, this is thought to be the vulnerable position.

In this instance, the hamstring muscles work eccentrically.

Based on the assumption that hamstring injuries occur as a result of strength deficits, particularly insufficient eccentric muscle strength, in 2001, Mjølsnes et al developed an eccentric hamstring strength training programme. The programme is based on the Nordic hamstring (NH) exercise, as this is a partner exercise that can easily be performed on the pitch without special equipment.

In short, hamstring injury is the great bugbear of all professional (and amateur) football.

One of the reasons hamstring injury rehabilitation is likely to fail is because there is a major disconnection between evidence-based recommendations and the HMI prevention programmes adopted in elite clubs.

Simon Bartold
Director of Bartold Clinical