Recreational Injury Interventions
Hamstring muscles are the most commonly injured
muscles in athletes, Upton et al, 1996.
Hamstring injuries result in a significant amount of rugby match and practice time
missed. Many of these injuries are believed to be avoidable with intervention. Some
of the risk factors that can be prevented are; inadequate warm-up, incorrect stretching,
inflexibility, muscle strength imbalance, fatigue, previous injury, intramuscular
corticosteroid injections, and return to activity before complete rehabilitation
following an injury. Warming up hamstring muscles increases the amount of force
and length of stretch necessary to tear a muscle, therefore reducing the probability
that it will be injured during rugby activity. The study below evaluates thermal
or neoprene pants which is another intervention that aids with muscle warming.
The football injury intervention section
in this website also reviews the impact of hamstring injury in athletes.
Review of rugby studies:
|Upton et al, 1996
Study design and target population
|Non-random controlled trial.
Population: 60 rugby players from 10 Western
Cape rugby clubs, from Cape Province, South Africa.
|Players who reported that they had
missed 7 or more days of rugby due to a hamstring injury completed a questionnaire
about the injury.
Participants were monitored and given the option to wear thermal
pants for the duration of the 1992 rugby playing season.
|Injury rates, site/location of injury,
time lost due to injuries, incidence of injury, time before returning to rugby.
|The injury rate for players who wore thermal pants
some of the time was significantly lower when using the warmers, (3 injuries/
1000 playing hours), compared to (57/1000 playing hours), when not wearning
18% of the injuries recurred at exactly the same injury site,
and within 12 days of returning to rugby after the initial injury.
Incidence of injury high in first 3 weeks of the season and
in the same period after the mid-season break.
80% of the match and practice time lost was direct result
of hamstring injuries.
Study quality and conclusions
|Thermal pants may reduce the risk of recurrent hamstring
Inadequate preseason training and incomplete rehabilitation
after injury may have a more significant role in preventing recurrent hamstring
Non-randomized trial, only a small
number of athletes utilizing intervention or wearing thermal pants all the
Summary of rugby studies
Thermal pants may reduce the risk of recurrent hamstring injury. Rugby players
may benefit from wearing them, in particular, during times when the incidence of
injury is high or in the first 3 weeks of the season and in the same period after
mid-season break. Utilization of this prevention intervention may reduce the match
and practice time lost due to injury.
Recommendations on rugby
At the present time it is not clear whether
thermal pants or warmers protect players from recurrent hamstring injury. However,
there may be a reduced risk of injury and they could be utilized as an prevention
Recommendations for future
There is a definite need for
well-designed, large-scale randomized controlled trials (RCTs) to evaluate the effect
of thermal pants. This is the only way that all the other confounders can be controlled
for. Additionally, studies that evaluate other risk factors such as, inadequate
preseason training and incomplete rehabilitation should be conducted.