London International Consensus and Delphi study on hamstring injuries part 3: rehabilitation, running and return to sport

Paton, Bruce M, Read, Paul J ORCID: 0000-0002-1508-8602, van Dyk, Nicol, Wilson, Mathew G, Pollock, Noel, Court, Nick, Giakoumis, Michael, Head, Paul, Kayani, Babar, Kelly, Sam, Kerkhoffs, Gino M M J, Moore, James, Moriarty, Peter, Murphy, Simon, Plastow, Ricci, Stirling, Ben, Tulloch, Laura, Wood, David and Haddad, Fares (2023) London International Consensus and Delphi study on hamstring injuries part 3: rehabilitation, running and return to sport. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 57 (5). pp. 254-265. doi:10.1136/bjsports-2021-105384

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Hamstring injuries (HSIs) are the most common athletic injury in running and pivoting sports, but despite large amounts of research, injury rates have not declined in the last 2 decades. HSI often recur and many areas are lacking evidence and guidance for optimal rehabilitation. This study aimed to develop an international expert consensus for the management of HSI. A modified Delphi methodology and consensus process was used with an international expert panel, involving two rounds of online questionnaires and an intermediate round involving a consensus meeting. The initial information gathering round questionnaire was sent to 46 international experts, which comprised open-ended questions covering decision-making domains in HSI. Thematic analysis of responses outlined key domains, which were evaluated by a smaller international subgroup (n=15), comprising clinical academic sports medicine physicians, physiotherapists and orthopaedic surgeons in a consensus meeting. After group discussion around each domain, a series of consensus statements were prepared, debated and refined. A round 2 questionnaire was sent to 112 international hamstring experts to vote on these statements and determine level of agreement. Consensus threshold was set a priori at 70%. Expert response rates were 35/46 (76%) (first round), 15/35 (attendees/invitees to meeting day) and 99/112 (88.2%) for final survey round. Statements on rehabilitation reaching consensus centred around: exercise selection and dosage (78.8%–96.3% agreement), impact of the kinetic chain (95%), criteria to progress exercise (73%–92.7%), running and sprinting (83%–100%) in rehabilitation and criteria for return to sport (RTS) (78.3%–98.3%). Benchmarks for flexibility (40%) and strength (66.1%) and adjuncts to rehabilitation (68.9%) did not reach agreement. This consensus panel recommends individualised rehabilitation based on the athlete, sporting demands, involved muscle(s) and injury type and severity (89.8%). Early-stage rehab should avoid high strain loads and rates. Loading is important but with less consensus on optimum progression and dosage. This panel recommends rehabilitation progress based on capacity and symptoms, with pain thresholds dependent on activity, except pain-free criteria supported for sprinting (85.5%). Experts focus on the demands and capacity required for match play when deciding the rehabilitation end goal and timing of RTS (89.8%). The expert panellists in this study followed evidence on aspects of rehabilitation after HSI, suggesting rehabilitation prescription should be individualised, but clarified areas where evidence was lacking. Additional research is required to determine the optimal load dose, timing and criteria for HSI rehabilitation and the monitoring and testing metrics to determine safe rapid progression in rehabilitation and safe RTS. Further research would benefit optimising: prescription of running and sprinting, the application of adjuncts in rehabilitation and treatment of kinetic chain HSI factors.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Hamstring injuries; Return to sports; Rehabilitation; Running
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure > GV557 Sports
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC1200 Sports Medicine
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education and Science
Research Priority Areas: Health, Life Sciences, Sport and Wellbeing
Depositing User: Anna Kerr
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2023 09:11
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 09:06

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