FPIN's Help Desk Answers
Stretching for Prevention of Exercise-Related Injury
Am Fam Physician. 2016 Oct 1;94(7):547.
Does stretching reduce the risk of injury during exercise?
Stretching before exercise does not reduce the risk of injury. (Strength of Recommendation [SOR]: B, based on meta-analyses of lower-quality randomized controlled trials [RCTs].) However, it may slightly reduce postexercise muscle soreness. (SOR: B, based on an RCT.)
A 2011 systematic review studied the effect of various interventions—including stretching—over five days to one year on the prevention of lower-limb soft tissue overuse injuries.1 In six trials (N = 5,130), stretching did not decrease lower-limb soft tissue injuries (relative risk [RR] = 0.85; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.65 to 1.1).
A 2008 systematic review of four RCTs (N = 3,953) and three controlled clinical trials (CCTs; N >
REFERENCESshow all references
1. Yeung SS, et al. Interventions for preventing lower limb soft-tissue running injuries. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011;(7):CD001256....
2. Small K, et al. A systematic review into the efficacy of static stretching as part of a warm-up for the prevention of exercise-related injury. Res Sports Med. 2008;16(3):213–231.
3. Goldman EF, et al. Interventions for preventing hamstring injuries. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2010;(1):CD006782.
4. Herbert RD, et al. Stretching to prevent or reduce muscle soreness after exercise. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011;(7):CD004577.
Help Desk Answers provides answers to questions submitted by practicing family physicians to the Family Physicians Inquiries Network (FPIN). Members of the network select questions based on their relevance to family medicine. Answers are drawn from an approved set of evidence-based resources and undergo peer review. The strength of recommendations and the level of evidence for individual studies are rated using criteria developed by the Evidence-Based Medicine Working Group (http://www.cebm.net/?o=1025).
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