Study Design Reliability and case-control injury study. Background Knee flexor strength is a key variable when dealing with hamstring strain injury (HSI), and methodologies of objective measurement of strength are often limited to single exercises. Objectives To establish test-retest reliability of a novel apparatus to measure knee flexor strength during various hamstring exercises, and to investigate whether the measure can detect between-leg differences in male participants with and without history of unilateral HSI. Methods Twenty male participants without and 10 male participants with previous unilateral HSI participated. Isometric knee flexor strength and peak rate of force development (RFD) at 0°/0°, 45°/45°, and 90°/90° of hip/knee flexion were measured, as well as force impulse during bilateral and unilateral variations of an eccentric slider and hamstring bridge, using a novel apparatus. Intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC), typical error, and typical error as a coefficient of variation were calculated for all measures. The magnitudes of between-leg differences within each group were calculated using estimates of effect sizes, reported as Cohen's d and 90% confidence interval (CI). Results Moderate to high test-retest reliability was observed for isometric knee flexor strength (ICC = 0.87-0.92) and peak RFD (ICC = 0.88-0.95) across 3 positions and for mean force impulse during the eccentric slider (ICC = 0.83-0.90). In those with prior HSI, large deficits were observed in the previously injured leg compared to the contralateral uninjured leg for mean force impulse during the unilateral eccentric slider (d = -1.09; 90% CI: -0.20, -1.97), isometric strength at 0°/0° (d = -1.06; 90% CI: -0.18, -1.93) and 45°/45° (d = -0.88; 90% CI: -0.02, -1.74), and peak RFD at 45°/45° (d = -0.88; 90% CI: -0.02, -1.74). Conclusion The novel apparatus provides a reliable measure of isometric knee flexor strength, peak RFD, and force impulse during an eccentric slider, with deficits seen in previously injured hamstrings for these measures. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2018;48(2):72-80. Epub 26 Oct 2017. doi:10.2519/jospt.2018.7634.
Keywords: eccentric; force impulse; isometric; muscle; rate of force development; strain injury.