Hamstring injuries (HSI) are reported as one of the most common injuries in football. It is even stated that Hamstring injury rates are increasing in elite football. The long head of the biceps femoris is the most common part of the hamstring to be injured. HSI have been shown to effect more than one fifth of elite players during a season. A recent systematic review and meta-analysis has recently investigated the effectiveness of the injury prevention programs that included the nordic hamstring exercise (NHE) on reducing hamstring injury rates while factoring in the athletes workload.
There were two researchers who independently searched for eligible studies from earliest available research through to December 2015 and found 3242 articles that were then filtered down to 5 articles that met the inclusion criteria. The main inclusion criteria were randomized controlled trials or interventional studies on use of an injury prevention program that included the NHE while the primary outcome was hamstring injury rate.
The results demonstrated strong evidence that training programs that incorporated the NHE decreased the rate of HSI by up to 51% in the long term compared to the usual warm-up or training programs.
Therefore, it’s safe to suggest that from the current evidence available that NHE alone or used in combination with other injury prevention programs is safe and effective way for preventing HSI.
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Al Attar WS, Soomr N, Sinclair P. Effect of Injury Prevention Programs that Include the Nordic Hamstring Exercise on Hamstring Injury Rates in Soccer Players: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Sports Med (2016). doi:10.1007/s40279-016-0638-2
Ekstrand J, Waldén M, Hägglund M. Hamstring injuries have increased by 4% annually in men’s professional football, since 2001: a 13-year longitudinal analysis of the UEFA Elite Club injury study. Br J Sports Med 2016;50:731-7.