Stretching before a run ‘does not prevent injuries’

February 17th, 2011 - 6:30 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Feb 17 (ANI): A new study has suggested that stretching before a run does not prevent injuries.

According to scientists, priming the muscles neither prevents or causes injury - but those who already stretch as part of their normal routine should continue to do so or they will hurt themselves, reports the Telegraph.

The new research included 2,729 runners who run 10 or more miles per week. Of these runners, 1,366 were randomised to a stretch group and 1,363 were put into a non-stretch group before running.

Runners in the stretch group stretched their quadriceps, hamstrings and gastrocnemius/soleus (in the back part of the leg) muscle groups. The entire routine took three to five minutes and was performed immediately before running.

The study found that stretching before running neither prevents nor causes injury.

In fact, the most significant risk factors are a history of chronic injury or injury within the past four months; higher body mass index and switching pre-run stretching routines (runners who normally stretch stopping and vice versa).

Runners who typically stretch as part of their pre-run routine and were randomised not to stretch during the study period were far more likely to have an injury.

“As a runner myself, I thought stretching before a run would help to prevent injury,” Dr Daniel Pereles, of Montgomery Orthopaedics outside Washington DC in the United States, said.

“However, we found that the risk for injury was the same men and women, whether or not they were high or low mileage runners, and across all age groups.

“But the more mileage run or the heavier and older the runner was, the more likely he or she was likely to get injured, and previous injury within four months predisposed to even further injury.

“Although all runners switching routines were more likely to experience an injury than those who did not switch, the group that stopped stretching had more reported injuries, implying that an immediate shift in a regimen may be more important than the regimen itself,” he added.

The most common injuries sustained were groin pulls, foot/ankle injuries and knee injuries.

There was no significant difference in injury rates between the runners who stretched and the runners who didn’t for any specific injury location or diagnosis.

The study was presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). (ANI)

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