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Hamstring Research

In this edition of the Physica e-news we talk to Grant Freckleton member of the Ringwood clinical team, about his research on hamstring injuries which has recently been published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

So how did you get into research?

During the final two years of my physiotherapy degree the students with marks in the top 5% were invited to apply for an honours project. The topic I was most interested in was on hamstring injury in AFL footballers and I was lucky enough to be successful in securing this project.

What was involved with your topic ?

The project started with a systematic review (gathering of all relevant research) on the risk factors for hamstring injuries in AFL footballers. I began this at the start of third year physio and then went on to conduct a prospective cohort study on the predictive value of the single leg bridge test.

How did you obtain your information?

We started testing at the end of 2010 through the pre-season. We tested 508 footballers from varying levels from TAC cup to the VFL and VAFA (Victorian amateurs football association). We used various tests which included the single leg bridge test, ankle lunge test and the use of a questionnaire.

What is the single leg bridge test and why did you use it?

It consists of the subject lying on his back with one leg on a box 60cm high. The player is then instructed to cross their arms across the chest and lift the trunk by pushing down through the heel. This test is a reliable way of testing the strength of the hamstrings and was devised at the North London High Performance Centre.

What did you find?

We found that increasing age, previous hamstring strain, increased quadriceps peak torque were all risk factors for developing hamstring injury. We also found that previous knee injury and a reduced single leg bridge test was also associated with hamstring injury.

What are your thoughts on ‘core stability’ hamstring injury?

The core is very important, if lumbopelvic control is poor this can load the hamstrings adversely and may contribute to hamstring injury. Eccentric strengthening (lengthening of the muscle under load) is also very important in the rehabilitation phase as the type of muscle contraction produces the most tension in the muscle.

All Physica practitioners have expertise in diagnosing and rehabilitating hamstring injuries. We will assess the injury and devise an appropriate program to return you as quickly as possible to your chosen sport.