December 20, 2019
Hamstring and groin injuries are the most common injury in elite professional soccer, collectively making up 26.8% of recorded injuries. Hamstring injuries make up 14% of soccer injuries and the groin accounts for the remaining 12.8%. Players who’ve sustained groin or hamstring injuries can expect to be out of play for 2 weeks on average. Their rehabilitation and injury prevention programs should continue in conjunction with their return to play as the recurrence rate for hamstring injuries in soccer players is 16%. Groin injury recurrence is even higher as 1 in 5 strains repeat themselves within 2 months of soccer players’ return to play.
Other leading risk factors for groin injury include a muscular imbalance between the abductor and adductor muscle groups, where the adductors are considerably weak. Other factors that predispose athletes to groin injury include weak core muscles and overactive glute muscles. Reduced hip mobility will also increase the risk of groin injury.
Groin injuries are common in soccer players as the mechanism of injury often involves directional change. They usually occur during match play but if a groin strain occurs during training, it is more likely to be sustained during pre-season training. All field sports leave athletes vulnerable to hamstring injury. Hamstring injuries tend to occur during match play when a player is speeding up or slowing their running pace.
Targeting the weaknesses and extrinsic predisposing factors will reduce the risk of initial or recurrent hamstring and groin injuries in soccer players. Adductor strength exercises along with core conditioning should be integrated to training and gym programs for the prevention of groin strains. Hamstring injury prevention consists of a general lower body program but Nordic hamstring curls should specifically be incorporated as they reduce recurrent hamstring injury by up to 85%.