The Function of Hamstrings: A Pathogenic Hypothesis of Femoropatellar Osteoarthritis
Since the end of the last century there has been controversy concerning the function of the hamstrings. By 1867 Duchenne de Boulogne spoke of a paradoxical action of extension which Lombard (1907) later described in the following manner: “The anterior vector stretches the knee, but flexes the hip; the hamstrings bend the knee and stretch the hip. Their actions should cancel one another; however, they complete one another. ” In opposition to this Storck (1932) and more recently Maquet (1955) categorically deny the knee extension function of the hamstrings. This is because, says Maquet (1984), “the muscle being located posteriorly to the centre of knee flexion can only be a knee-bender. ” This discussion continues today: are the hamstrings agonists or antagonists to the quadriceps?
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