Monitoring the effect of football match congestion on hamstring strength and lower limb flexibility: Potential for secondary injury prevention?

Phys Ther Sport. 2018 Jan;29:14-18. doi: 10.1016/j.ptsp.2017.09.001. Epub 2017 Sep 15.


Objectives: To investigate the effect of competitive football match congestion on hamstring strength and lower limb flexibility.

Design: Repeated measures.

Setting: Elite male youth football.

Participants: Fifteen male elite youth football players from the national football association centre of excellence were included (age = 15.81 ±0.65 years, height = 171.95 ±6.89 cm, weight = 65.93 ±7.53 kg).

Main outcome measures: Hamstring strength and pain, ankle dorsiflexion, hip extension, knee extension and flexion range of motion.

Results: Hamstring strength was highest at baseline and significantly reduced at 24 (p = 0.001, mean difference -0.19 Nm/Kg, CI95 -0.28, -0.1) and 48 h post-match 1 (p = 0.002, mean difference -0.16 Nm/Kg, CI95 -0.25, -0.07). Strength recovered by match day 2 before significantly reducing again 24 h post-match 2 (p = 0.012, mean difference -0.17 Nm/Kg, CI95 -0.29, -0.04). Pain was lowest at baseline and increased in the post-match periods (p < 0.05) with standardised effect sizes ranging from 0.07 to 0.42. Passive knee flexion range decreased post-match (p < 0.01) with mean differences of 1.5°-2.7°. The other flexibility measures remained unaffected by match play.

Conclusion: Isometric hamstring strength and pain can be considered for inclusion in-season to monitor player's post-match hamstring recovery characteristics during congested match fixtures.

Keywords: Injury; Posterior thigh; Recovery; Soccer match.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Hamstring Muscles / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Lower Extremity / physiology
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Recovery of Function
  • Soccer*