Article #16 of 50: I have made it a goal of mine to share at least 50 research articles with you to review in 2012. These articles will be shared with no opinion of mine, just purely the information provided in the research and where to go to read more about the topic. This weekly challenge will feature many different aspects of the field: strength, conditioning, nutrition, psychology, etc. If you would like to submit research articles to be included in this segment, please email me a PDF version of the peer reviewed journal article.

Int J Sports Med 2011; 32: 205–210.

Abstract: Limited ankle dorsifl exion passive range of motion (DF PROM) has been associated with lower extremity overuse injuries. Therefore, clinicians often prescribe stretching exercises to increase ankle DF PROM. However, there is limited evidence to indicate if any particular gastrocnemius stretching exercise results in greater improvement in DF PROM. The aim of this study was to determine if gastrocnemius stretching in nonweight bearing (NWB) or weight bearing (WB) results in a greater increase of ankle DF PROM. 28 healthy volunteers, aged 18 – 55 years, who exhibited less than 10 degrees of ankle DF PROM completed the study. Participants were randomized into 2 stretching groups: NWB and WB. Both groups completed a 3-week home gastrocnemius stretching program, consisting of 5 repetitions held for 30 s each, 2 times daily. Participants’ ankle DF PROM was measured with a blinded standard goniometer in NWB and WB positions before and after participation in a 3-week home gastrocnemius stretching program. Two 3-way mixed model ANOVAs demonstrated no significant difference in ankle DF PROM between the NWB and WB groups for either the NWB measurement condition (p = 0.49) or WB measurement condition (p = 0.86). Gastrocnemius stretching exercises performed in NWB or WB were equally effective in increasing ankle DF PROM.

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