Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Incidence and prevalence of hamstring injuries in field-based team sports: a systematic review and meta-analysis of 5952 injuries from over 7 million exposure hours


Objective This study aimed to systematically review and meta-analyse the incidence and prevalence of hamstring injuries in field-based team sports. A secondary aim was to determine the impact of other potential effect moderators (match vs training; sport; playing surface; cohort age, mass and stature; and year when data was collected) on the incidence of hamstring injury in field-based team sports.

Design Systematic review and meta-analysis.

Data sources CINAHL, Cochrane Library, MEDLINE Complete (EBSCO), Embase, Web of Science and SPORTDiscus databases were searched from database inception to 5 August 2020.

Eligibility criteria Prospective cohort studies that assessed the incidence of hamstring injuries in field-based team sports.

Method Following database search, article retrieval and title and abstract screening, articles were assessed for eligibility against predefined criteria then assessed for methodological quality using the Critical Appraisal Tool for prevalence studies. Meta-analysis was used to pool data across studies, with meta-regression used where possible.

Results Sixty-three articles were included in the meta-analysis, encompassing 5952 injuries and 7 262 168 hours of exposure across six field-based team sports (soccer, rugby union, field hockey, Gaelic football, hurling and Australian football). Hamstring injury incidence was 0.81 per 1000 hours, representing 10% of all injuries. Prevalence for a 9-month period was 13%, increasing 1.13-fold for every additional month of observation (p=0.004). Hamstring injury incidence increased 6.4% for every 1 year of increased average cohort age, was 9.4-fold higher in match compared with training scenarios (p=0.003) and was 1.5-fold higher on grass compared with artificial turf surfaces (p<0.001). Hamstring injury incidence was not significantly moderated by average cohort mass (p=0.542) or stature (p=0.593), was not significantly different between sports (p=0.150) and has not significantly changed over the last 30 years (p=0.269).

Conclusion Hamstring injury represents 10% of all injuries in field-based team sports, with 13% of the athletes experiencing a hamstring injury over a 9-month period most commonly during matches. More work is needed to reduce the incidence of hamstring injury in field-based team sports.

PROSPERO registration number CRD42020200022.

  • epidemiology
  • hamstring muscles
  • risk factor
  • prospective studies
  • thigh

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.