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J Sport Health Sci. 2017 Sep;6(3):283-289. doi: 10.1016/j.jshs.2017.03.012. Epub 2017 Mar 28.

The effect of hamstring flexibility on peak hamstring muscle strain in sprinting.

Author information

1
Biomechanics Laboratory, Beijing Sport University, Beijing 100084, China.
2
Duke Sports Medicine, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.
3
Center for Human Movement Science, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.

Abstract

Background:

The effect of hamstring flexibility on the peak hamstring muscle strains in sprinting, until now, remained unknown, which limited our understanding of risk factors of hamstring muscle strain injury (hamstring injury). As a continuation of our previous study, this study was aimed to examine the relationship between hamstring flexibility and peak hamstring muscle strains in sprinting.

Methods:

Ten male and 10 female college students participated in this study. Hamstring flexibility, isokinetic strength data, three-dimensional (3D) kinematic data in a hamstring isokinetic test, and kinematic data in a sprinting test were collected for each participant. The optimal hamstring muscle lengths and peak hamstring muscle strains in sprinting were determined for each participant.

Results:

The muscle strain of each of the 3 biarticulated hamstring muscles reached a peak during the late swing phase. Peak hamstring muscle strains were negatively correlated to hamstring flexibility (0.1179 ≤ R 2 ≤ 0.4519, p = 0.001) but not to hip and knee joint positions at the time of peak hamstring muscle strains. Peak hamstring muscle strains were not different for different genders. Peak muscle strains of biceps long head (0.071 ± 0.059) and semitendinosus (0.070 ± 0.055) were significantly greater than that of semimembranosus (0.064 ± 0.054).

Conclusion:

A potential for hamstring injury exists during the late swing phase of sprinting. Peak hamstring muscle strains in sprinting are negatively correlated to hamstring flexibility across individuals. The magnitude of peak muscle strains is different among hamstring muscles in sprinting, which may explain the different injury rate among hamstring muscles.

KEYWORDS:

Hamstring flexibility; Hamstring muscle strain injury; Injury risk factor; Muscle biomechanics; Muscle strain; Muscle strain injury

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