The hamstring muscle complex is one of the most frequently injured muscle groups in sports. Most previous studies on the subject have examined injury frequency, localization, prevention and risk factors in a specific sport, though often separately. To date, few studies have examined and compared those factors between different sports. Therefore, the aim of this study is to examine the frequency of hamstring injury, potential mechanisms, risk factors and prevention methods in different sports.
The highest frequency of hamstring injuries was found in gaelic football, european football, australian football, track and field, ballet and cheerleading. The most commonly injured muscle was the m. biceps femoris, mainly found in sports involving sprint movements. However, in sports such as ballet and cheerleading, involving slow stretching movements, hamstring injury involves mostly the m. semimembranosus and m. semitendinosus.
The hamstring muscles are activated through the whole gait cycle, with the highest activation for m. biceps femoris at the end of the swingphase. This is believed to be the main cause of hamstring injuries, combined with a peak eccentric contraction force at the end of the swingphase.
Other risk factors for hamstring injuries are age, hamstring-quadriceps strength ratio and fatigue, among others.
Well performed warm-up and eccentric resistance training are preferable prevention methods.
In conclusion, hamstring injury is common in sports involving high speed or over stretch. Increased muscle strength and strength balance between hamstring muscle and its antagonist seems to be an important factor in injury prevention.
Key Words: hamstring muscle complex; injuries; biomechanics; prevention; prevalence.
2013. , 20 p.