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Including the Nordic hamstring exercise in injury prevention programmes halves the rate of hamstring injuries: a systematic review and meta-analysis of 8459 athletes

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Authors

Nicol van Dyk; Fearghal P Behan; Rod Whiteley.

Abstract

Research question

Does the Nordic hamstring exercise (NHE) prevent hamstring injuries when included as part of an injury prevention intervention?

Design

Systematic review and meta-analysis.

Eligibility criteria for selecting studies

We considered the population to be any athletes participating in any sporting activity, the intervention to be the NHE, the comparison to be usual training or other prevention programmes, which did not include the NHE, and the outcome to be the incidence or rate of hamstring injuries.

Analysis

The effect of including the NHE in injury prevention programmes compared with controls on hamstring injuries was assessed in 15 studies that reported the incidence across different sports and age groups in both women and men.

Data sources

MEDLINE via PubMed, CINAHL via Ebsco, and OpenGrey.

Results

There is a reduction in the overall injury risk ratio of 0.49 (95% CI 0.32 to 0.74, p=0.0008) in favour of programmes including the NHE. Secondary analyses when pooling the eight randomised control studies demonstrated a small increase in the overall injury risk ratio 0.52 (95% CI 0.32 to 0.85, p=0.0008), still in favour of the NHE. Additionally, when studies with a high risk of bias were removed (n=8), there is an increase of 0.06 in the risk ratio to 0.55 (95% CI 0.34 to 0.89, p=0.006).

Conclusions

Programmes that include the NHE reduce hamstring injuries by up to 51%. The NHE essentially halves the rate of hamstring injuries across multiple sports in different athletes.

Trial registration number

PROSPERO CRD42018106150.

Link

van Dyk N, Behan FP, Whiteley R. Including the Nordic hamstring exercise in injury prevention programmes halves the rate of hamstring injuries: a systematic review and meta-analysis of 8459 athletes. Br J Sports Med. 2019;53(21):1362-1370. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2018-100045

Keywords

hamstrings; injury prevention; intervention; sports and exercise medicine.

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