The relationship between selected pelvic biomechanic parameters and hamstring injuries in semi–professional rugby players
Hamstring injuries have a high prevalence in rugby union players. Delayed transverse abdominus activation as well as lordosis is associated with hamstring injuries. No literature regarding this relationship in rugby players could have been found. The main purpose of this study was therefore to determine the relationship between pelvic biomechanics (transverse abdominus activation and pelvis tilt) and gluteus maximus, hamstring and erector spinae activation patterns in semi–professional rugby union players as well as the relationship of the above mentioned variables and hamstring injuries. A total of 65 players voluntarily participated in this study. Pelvis tilt (left and right) was assessed by Dartfish version 4.06.0 (Dartfish, Switzerland). Transverse abdominus activation (TrA) was assessed by pressure biofeedback and the mean onset times of the left and right gluteus maximus (GM), biceps femoris (BF), semitendinosus (ST) and lumbar erector spinae (LES) was measured with electromyography (EMG). In order to determine the role of the pelvic biomechanics and activation patterns on hamstring injuries, players were retrospectively grouped in injured and uninjured groups. Differences between the groups were determined with regards to the variables determined. Activation patterns were determined by means of descriptive statistics. The between–group pelvic biomechanic (pelvic tilt and TrA) differences in the muscle (GM, LES and hamstrings) onset times were analysed by determining practical significance by means of effect sizes. An anterior pelvic tilt on the left side was observed in 64.6% of the participants and on the right side in 83.1% of the participants. TrA testing indicated that 68.4% of participants were classified with bad activation and 31.6% with good activation. No practical significant difference was found in the mean onset times of each muscle relative to the other in the normal and anterior tilted pelvis groups as well as in the bad and good TrA groups. A total of 24.6% of the rugby players previously suffered from hamstring injuries, 37.5% of those injured participants were suffering from re–injury. No practical significant between group differences were found when the injured and uninjured groups were compared with regards to anterior pelvis tilt values (d=0.061) and TrA values (d=0.189). EMG results on the right and left side of the injured and uninjured participants present a pattern of the following activation order: LES, GM, BF and lastly ST. No practical significant between groups differences were found in the onset times of the muscles relative to each other in the injured compared to uninjured groups. The conclusions that can be drawn from this study is that semi–professional rugby union players (injured and uninjured) are prone to postural defects such as anterior tilt of the pelvis and bad TrA. Anterior pelvic tilt and bad TrA may be the reason for the earlier activation of the LES and hamstrings muscles relative to the GM in the prone hip extension to stabilize the lumbar spine. These activation patterns were however not influenced by previous hamstring injuries.
- Health Sciences