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Altered muscle activation following hamstring injuries
  1. Gisela Sole1,
  2. Stephan Milosavljevic1,
  3. Helen Nicholson2,
  4. S John Sullivan1
  1. 1Centre for Physiotherapy Research, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
  2. 2Department of Anatomy and Structural Biology, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
  1. Correspondence toDr Gisela Sole, Centre of Physiotherapy Research, University of Otago, Box 56, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand; gisela.sole{at}


Objective The purpose of this study was to compare the electromyographic (EMG) activity of gluteal and thigh muscles of sportspeople with a recent hamstring injury with uninjured controls during a weight-bearing task.

Study design Cross-sectional.

Setting University laboratory.

Participants 16 participants with a hamstring injury (hamstring-injured group, HG) and 18 control participants (control group (CG)) participated in the study.

Main outcome measure The EMG activity of gluteal, quadriceps and hamstring muscles was recorded during a movement from double- to single-leg movement using surface electrodes.

Results The EMG onsets of biceps femoris and medial hamstrings were significantly earlier for the HG injured and the uninjured sides in preparation for single-leg standing when compared with the CG average. There were no differences in onsets for the gluteal and quadriceps muscles when comparing the injured or uninjured legs of the HG to the bilateral average of the CG.

Conclusion The earlier onset of the injured and the uninjured hamstrings in preparation for single leg stance of the HG in comparison with the CG suggests an alteration in the motor control of these muscles. Altered neuromuscular control following a hamstring injury may be a factor to be considered in the rehabilitation of hamstring injuries.

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  • Funding New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists Scholarship Trust covered participant transport costs, running costs and a laboratory research assistant.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by the University of Otago Human Ethics Committee.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.