Deviating running kinematics and hamstring injury susceptibility in male soccer players: Cause or consequence?

Gait Posture. 2017 Sep;57:270-277. doi: 10.1016/j.gaitpost.2017.06.268. Epub 2017 Jun 27.


Background: Although the vast majority of hamstring injuries in male soccer are sustained during high speed running, the association between sprinting kinematics and hamstring injury vulnerability has never been investigated prospectively in a cohort at risk.

Purpose: This study aimed to objectify the importance of lower limb and trunk kinematics during full sprint in hamstring injury susceptibility.

Study design: Cohort study; level of evidence, 2.

Methods: At the end of the 2013 soccer season, three-dimensional kinematic data of the lower limb and trunk were collected during sprinting in a cohort consisting of 30 soccer players with a recent history of hamstring injury and 30 matched controls. Subsequently, a 1.5 season follow up was conducted for (re)injury registry. Ultimately, joint and segment motion patterns were submitted to retro- and prospective statistical curve analyses for injury risk prediction.

Results: Statistical analysis revealed that index injury occurrence was associated with higher levels of anterior pelvic tilting and thoracic side bending throughout the airborne (swing) phases of sprinting, whereas no kinematic differences during running were found when comparing players with a recent hamstring injury history with their matched controls.

Conclusion: Deficient core stability, enabling excessive pelvis and trunk motion during swing, probably increases the primary injury risk. Although sprinting encompasses a relative risk of hamstring muscle failure in every athlete, running coordination demonstrated to be essential in hamstring injury prevention.

Keywords: 3D kinematics; Acceleration; Aetiology; Hamstring injury; Soccer; Sprinting coordination.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hamstring Muscles / injuries*
  • Humans
  • Leg Injuries / etiology*
  • Leg Injuries / physiopathology
  • Lower Extremity / physiology
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Running / injuries*
  • Running / physiology*
  • Soccer / injuries*
  • Soccer / physiology*
  • Torso / physiology
  • Young Adult