The hamstrings question of Dembele : Is he injury prone?

On Saturday, in the Celta – Barca match, Dembele left the field after 5 minutes. Further tests confirmed he’s out for 3-4 weeks, and his season is almost over. Although injuries are part of the game, it quite worrying that it’s not his first hamstring injury. Furthermore, Dembele just returned from hamstrings injury in the other leg, so the worries are natural. In recent years we saw many players that prone to hamstring injuries, and that really affected their career. Players like Marc Overmars, Arjen Robben and many more sat in the stands for large amount of times. But, there’s also the example of Leo Messi, who sat down injured a lot in his first years. However, Barcelona worked with Messi and his hamstring problems, and his hamstring almost never injures since then.

What causes the hamstring injuries?

Hamstring injuries are common mainly in sportsmen who do many sprints, jumps and quick change of positions. Furthermore, once hamstring stretch, or tear occurs, it has a big chance to return again. An Australian study that conducted on Rugby players, showed that 36% of hamstring injuries are recurring injuries. Therefore, injury prone hamstring is something that could ruin one player’s career.


Although many would think otherwise, the hamstring is not one muscle, but a group of three muscles with 4 “strings” if you like. The center ‘string’ is called “Biceps femoris” and it’s basically one muscle with two “stings”. To his right and left there are the semimembranosus, and the semitendinosus. As a long muscle, the hamstrings muscle connects the butt to the knee, and it flexes the knee, and extends the thigh in the same time. Because of its multi-joint use, fast motions can cause a tear, without proper warm-up, or bad condition. Therefore, there are 3 degrees of hamstring injuries:

  1. Light: stretch or small tear.
  2. Medium: A tear in the hamstrings. In that case the player needs a rest, and then to work with a physiotherapist in order to gain his strength back.
  3. Big: a large tear in hamstrings. In that case the player has to have surgery. That was the case for Dembele last season, when he needed surgery in his left thigh.
    Studies have shown that there are some conditions that make hamstrings injuries more common: Older body, tiredness, bad warm-up, older injury and unbalanced muscles size between the front and back of the thigh – can all cause hamstrings injuries.

The example of Messi

In the beginning of his career, Leo Messi suffered large setbacks because of hamstrings injuries. The thing that caused his prone to injuries was the fact that his muscles growth were thanks to the treatment he received from the club. However, this “un-natural” growth made him a lot more prone to injuries, due to the unbalance in his muscles.

However, when Pep Guardiola took over Barhca, he assigned a specialist to make a specific work with Messi. And boy, it worked better than anyone expected, and Messi had a lot less injuries since then.

What did the specialist did for Messi? He made changes in Messi’s diet, did a specific fitness program, and made sure that Messi lives a full professional life. However, Leo needed to do one more thing, because of his condition: To run less in the matches. That is why we often see Messi walks in the field.

Should Dembele do a specific work?

As we saw, Hamstrings injuries often happen because of an unprofessional way of living. I’m not saying that this is the case for Dembele. But only in the start of this season, there were talks on Dembele’s unprofessional life, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone.

Although we did hear about the improvement in his lifestyle, strengthening your hamstrings muscle takes time. Even though Dembele might do everything right, he still suffers from thigh injuries. But if Dembouz will keep on working hard, having a professional lifestyle, and doing a proper diet, we should see improvement in that manner.

Just as they did with Messi a decade ago, the Barca staff members need to realize that Dembele is a vital player with a strategic place in the club. Therefore, hamstrings injury prone will not go anywhere, without proper diet and professional living. I am sure that a club like Barca will do whatever they can, so that Dembele will not hurt his hamstrings as much as he is right now. Otherwise, this might ruin his career in Barca and basically everywhere.

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