• Dave the physio

Hamstring injury prevention


Hamstring injuries are among the most common injuries for kicking based sports (soccer, AFL, NRL etc.)

This is due to the concentric force of the kick created from the hip flexors and quads exceeding the load capacity of the hamstrings to decelerate the leg.

Although the hamstrings action is to flex the knee, it's functional role in running is to decelerate the leg and shin in a controlled manner so that it can then begin to assist the glutes in performing hip extension once the leg makes contact with the ground and becomes the stance leg.

It has the same role in kicking, however a much higher velocity is usually present as it is required to create the forces necessary to kick the ball powerfully.

Remember... force = mass x acceleration

At an average weight of 73 kg, soccer players in particular require much more velocity in their kicks to be produced in order to create the same force necessary to kick the ball at speed.

When this force exceeds the load capacity of the hamstring, that is how injuries occur.

Injury prevention programs including Nordic Hamstring exercises have been found to decrease the incidence of hamstring injuries. This is due to the fact that Nordic Hamstrings exercises focus on the eccentric control of the hamstring. i.e. they do not place emphasis on the hamstrings "anatomical action... = knee flexion".

These program focus on controlling knee extension and building the ability of the hamstrings to withstand the forces as the muscles lengthens. This creates physiological strength through hypertrophy of the muscles fibres, but it also helps create stronger neurological connections through the increase neural firings caused by increased repetitions.

If you're looking to play soccer, AFL, NRL or any sport that requires kicking, invest in your injury prevention programming.

Article: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27752982

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