Background Despite the high rate of hamstring injuries, there is no consensus on their management, with a large number of different interventions being used. Recently several new injection therapies have been introduced.
Objective To systematically review the literature on the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions for acute hamstring injuries.
Data sources The databases of PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science, Cochrane Library, CINAHL and SPORTDiscus were searched in May 2011.
Study eligibility criteria Prospective studies comparing the effect of an intervention with another intervention or a control group without intervention in subjects with acute hamstring injuries were included.
Data analysis Two authors independently screened the search results and assessed risk of bias. Quality assessment of the included studies was performed using the Physiotherapy Evidence Database score. A best evidence synthesis was used to identify the level of evidence.
Main results Six studies were included in this systematic review. There is limited evidence for a positive effect of stretching, agility and trunk stability exercises, intramuscular actovegin injections or slump stretching in the management of acute hamstring injuries. Limited evidence was found that there is no effect of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or manipulation of the sacroiliac joint.
Conclusions There is a lack of high quality studies on the treatment of acute hamstring injuries. Only limited evidence was found to support the use of stretching, agility and trunk stability exercises, intramuscular actovegin injections or slump stretching. Further research is needed using an appropriate control group, randomisation and blinding.
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Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.