Effects of stretching before and after exercising on muscle soreness and risk of injury: systematic review

Both factors would be expected to inflate estimates of the effects of treatments, yet we found that stretching has no effect on delayed onset muscle soreness or on risk of injury

R. D Herbert

2002

Scholarcy highlights

  • Many people stretch before or after engaging in athletic activity
  • Not all criteria on the PEDro scale can be satisfied in these studies
  • Two further studies on army recruits undergoing military training strongly suggest that muscle stretching before exercising does not produce meaningful reductions in the risk of injury
  • We used a systematic review methodology to eliminate potential sources of bias as far as possible, but this does not guarantee the absence of bias
  • Our review may have been biased by publication bias or by inclusion only of studies reported in English. Both factors would be expected to inflate estimates of the effects of treatments, yet we found that stretching has no effect on delayed onset muscle soreness or on risk of injury
  • The PEDro scale, which we used to discriminate between studies of different quality, has not been fully validated
  • These data imply that the muscle stretching protocol used in these studies does not appreciably reduce risk of injury in army recruits undergoing military training, it is not possible to rule out with certainty a clinically worthwhile effect of other stretch protocols on risk of injury in other populations

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