Hamstring Injuries in Football

Hamstring injuries are highly prevalent in football accounting for 42% of all strain related injuries and in professional leagues in England strain injuries account for over 80% of injuries to the thigh. 47% of these injuries occurred in the final 15 minutes of the match. This shows that any strength and conditioning coach involved in football needs to be focused on hamstring injury prevention given the prevalence of the injury and the prognosis for recovery [up to 50 weeks post injury (Askling, et al, 2005)].

Greig and colleagues (2009) found that there was a correlation between prevelance of hamstring injuries, fatigue and eccentric hamstring strength.

What is eccentric strength/movement? Eccentric strength/movement refers to the strength/movement of the muscle while it is lengthening under tension. The eccentric portion of a movement is most likely to result in injury and accounts for most post exercise soreness.

Greig and colleagues (2009) attempted to replicate running patterns and fatigue in football players and hypothesized that eccentric hamstring strength was related to incidence of injury. After replicating the running patterns and intensities of a football match in football players peak hamstring strength was assessed.

Throughout the duration of the match replication protocol hamstring strength decreased being weakest at the end of the simulated match. Players were also unable to fully recover hamstring strength during the “half time” break this leads the authors to suggest that a re-warm up strategy in football players may help to prevent injuries in the second half.

The authors suggest that for the strength and conditioning coach it is a good idea to train speed when the athletes are in a fatigued state thus improving hamstring strength under fatigued conditions. Post injury athletes are three times more likely to reinjure the same hamstring than players who have not injured their hamstrings at all. This means that any player who has previously injured a hamstring must focus on exercises that develop eccentric hamstring strength. Which should also form an important part of any strength program for football players.

A great hamstring injury prevention exercise is the Nordic squat:


Askling, C., Saartok, T. & Thorstenson, A., (2006). Type of acute hamstring strain affects flexibility, strength and time to return to pre-injury levelBritish Journal of Sports Medicine: 40(1),40-44.

Greig, M., Siegler, J. C., (2009). Soccer-specific fatigue and eccentric hamstrings muscle strength', Journal; of Athletic Training: 44(2),180-184.

Designed by Young Graphic Designer