Photobiomodulation therapy as a tool to prevent hamstring strain injuries by reducing soccer-induced fatigue on hamstring muscles.

Maurício Pinto Dornelles, Carolina Gassen Fritsch, Francesca Chaida Sonda, Douglas Scott Johnson, Ernesto Cesar Pinto Leal-Junior, Marco Aurélio Vaz, Bruno Manfredini Baroni

Abstract: Muscle fatigue is a potential risk factor for hamstring strain injuries in soccer players. The aim of this study was to verify the effect of photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT) on the hamstrings’ muscle fatigue of soccer players during a simulated match. Twelve male amateur soccer players (~ 25 years) participated in this randomized, crossover, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial. The volunteers were evaluated in two sessions, with a minimum 7-day interval. At each session, volunteers received either PBMT (300 J per thigh) or placebo treatment on the hamstrings prior to the simulated soccer match. Muscle strength and functional capacity were evaluated through isokinetic dynamometry and countermovement jump (CMJ) tests, respectively, before and immediately after the simulated soccer match. Players had lower reductions on hamstring eccentric peak torque [4.85% (ES = 0.31) vs. 8.72% (ES = 0.50)], hamstring-to-quadriceps torque ratio [3.60% (ES = 0.24) vs. 7.75% (ES = 0.50)], and CMJ height [1.77% (ES = 0.09) vs. 5.47% (ES = 0.32)] when treated with PBMT compared to placebo. Magnitude-based inference supports that PBMT promoted 75%, 69%, and 53% chances for beneficial effects on hamstring eccentric peak torque, hamstring-to-quadriceps torque ratio, and CMJ height, respectively, compared to placebo treatment.

Conclusion: In conclusion, PBMT applied before a simulated soccer match proved to be effective in attenuating the hamstrings’ muscle fatigue. These findings support PBMT as a promising tool to prevent hamstring strain injury in soccer players.

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