Background: Controversy exists on stretching and warm-up in injury prevention. We hypothesized that warm up has a greater effect on Achilles tendon biomechanics than static stretching. This study investigated static stretching and warm-up on Achilles tendon biomechanics in recreational athletes, in vivo. Materials and Methods: Ten active, healthy subjects, 5 males, 5 females, With a mean age of 22.9 years with no previous Achilles tendon injuries were recruited. Typical stretching and warm-up routines were created. Testing was performed in a randomized cross-over design. A custom-built dynamometer was utilized to perform controlled isometric plantarflexion. A low profile ultrasound probe was utilized to visualize the musculotendinous junction of the medial gastrocnemius. An eight-camera motion capture system was used to capture ankle motion. Custom software calculated Achilles tendon biomechanics. Results: Achilles tendon force production was consistent. No statistically significant differences were detected in stretch, stiffness, and strain between pre-, post-stretching, and post-warm-up interventions. Conclusion: Stretching or warm-up alone, and combined did not demonstrate statistically significant differences. Stretching and warm-up may have an equivalent effect on Achilles tendon biomechanics. Prolonged and more intense protocols may be required for changes to occur. Clinical Relevance: Stretching and warm-up of the Achilles before exercise are commonly practiced. Investigating the effect of stretching and warm-up may shed light on potential injury prevention.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine