Author(s): Johanson MA, Cuda BJ, Koontz JE, Stell JC, Abelew TA
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Abstract CONTEXT: Stretching exercises are commonly prescribed for patients and healthy individuals with limited extensibility of the gastrocnemius muscle. OBJECTIVE: To determine effects of gastrocnemius stretching on ankle dorsiflexion, knee extension, and gastrocnemius muscle activity during gait. DESIGN: Randomized-control trial. SETTING: Biomechanical laboratory. PARTICIPANTS: Sixteen volunteers (9 men and 7 women, mean age = 27 y) with less than 5 degrees of passive ankle-dorsiflexion range of motion randomly assigned to an experimental or control group. INTERVENTION: The experimental group performed gastrocnemius stretching for 3 wk. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Maximum ankle dorsiflexion, maximum knee extension, and EMG amplitude of the gastrocnemius muscles were measured between heel strike and heel-off before and after intervention. RESULTS: No significant effect of group or time was found on maximum ankle dorsiflexion, maximum knee extension, or EMG activity of the medial or lateral gastrocnemius muscles between heel strike and heel-off. The experimental group had significantly greater passive ankle-dorsiflexion range of motion bilaterally at posttest than the control group. CONCLUSIONS: Stretching did not alter joint angles or gastrocnemius muscle activity in the early to midstance phase of gait.
This article was published in J Sport Rehabil
and referenced in International Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation