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Clinical predictors of time to return to competition and of recurrence following hamstring strain in elite Australian footballers

Abstract

Objective To investigate early clinical predictors of time to return to competition and of recurrence following hamstring strain.

Design Prospective observational study.

Setting Elite level of Australian football competition.

Participant 59 players who suffered a hamstring strain in 2002 season.

Predictors Clinical assessment by a physiotherapist and questionnaire.

Main outcome measures Time taken to return to play and recurrence of hamstring injury within 3 weeks.

Results Players taking more than 1 day to walk pain-free were significantly more likely (p=0.018) to take longer than 3 weeks to return to competition (adjusted odds ratio 4.0; 95% CI 1.3 to 12.6). Nine players (15.2%) experienced an injury recurrence, all involving the biceps femoris. Recurrence was more likely in players who reported a hamstring injury in the past 12 months (adjusted odds ratio 19.6; 95% CI 1.5 to 261.0; p=0.025).

Conclusion Time to walk pain-free and previous hamstring injury are predictors of time to return to competition and recurrence, respectively, and should be included in a clinical assessment to aid in prognosis.

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