Hamstring injuries: Football’s most common injury

Research has found that hamstring injuries are football’s most common injuries. All too often, professional players pull up in training or matches with upper leg injuries and often grasp the back of their legs. A hamstring strain or tear is a major problem for any player. Hamstring injuries are the cause of 12% of all professional football fitness issues.

On average, professional football teams around the world lose players for a combined 16 fixtures during the club season due to hamstring injuries.

What is the hamstring?

The hamstring is the muscle that enables the knee to bend. The muscle also extends into the hip and allows players to run, walk, and kick a football. The hamstring takes an immense amount of pressure and stress during training and matches. Due to the pressure and strain hamstrings undergo during matches it means a pull, strain, or tear is possible.

Hamstring injuries are caused by fast or slow movements. Sudden movements can be the culprit of hamstring injuries. Therefore, it doesn’t matter if you are quick or slow as the injuries can occur to anyone.

What factors cause hamstring injuries?

  1. Lack of warming up before playing
  2. Muscle weakness or imbalance
  3. Poor biomechanics
  4. Ethnicity
  5. Age
  6. Poor or a lack of flexibility
  7. Fatigue
  8. Overstretching
  9. Slide tackles
  10. High kicks

How to prevent hamstring injuries

  • One way to prevent a pulled hamstring is to warm up properly and completely before training and/or games. Tights or jogging bottoms can help warm up the body.
  • A specific strengthening program for player’s hamstring muscle group and football activities is important to prepare for high-speed games.
  • It is extremely important to continue to strengthen all other muscles in the thighs, pelvis, and lower back to make sure your player has correct muscle balance.
  • Stretching both before and after football training and matches.
  • Regular deep tissue sports massage can help prevent muscle strains by identifying tight knots and weak points in the muscle.

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