This was the first topic to be asked about on the Twitter feed and it is a huge topic, so I felt the best thing to do was to break it down into and cover it in a small series of posts. I get asked a lot of questions about stretching by my clients and so thought I would answer some of the more common questions.
I’m always happy to admit I don’t know everything so with all my posts the content will be a mixture of my interpretation of the research and evidence I have read, things I have been taught and told, and my experiences, both as a runner and a physiotherapist.
Clients and fellow runners often say to me ‘’I’m sure my injury has happened because I don’t stretch before I run’’ or ‘’I don’t stretch enough’’. Interestingly, this is probably NOT the case, there are lots of other much more likely contributing factors to injury (which I’ll try to cover in future posts) than lack of stretching. This is not to say stretching is not valuable an does not have a role but there is ongoing debate and research into the value of stretching, the best way and best time to stretch.
A study by Lauersen et al in 2014 of over twenty-six thousand people concluded that stretching had minimal benefit when it comes to injury prevention, and that strength and proprioception training was much more protective for overuse injuries. It must be added that this was not a study of runners but athletes across several sports.
My personal thoughts are that if you currently stretch and feel you gain benefit from doing so, whether that be improved performance, injury prevention or improved feeling of preparedness for training or an event, then absolutely carry on. I think the psychological aspect of routine and feeling prepared to run/race is incredibly important, and you have a routine that works for you then why change it.
If you are more recently trying to incorporate more stretching to help with an injury and to prevent injury, then you may be able to improve on what you are doing by making the stretching more dynamic and by adding strengthening exercises.
In my next post I’ll discuss and demonstrate some more dynamic stretching and warm up routines.
Thanks for reading and if any questions feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or post on twitter @quinn_physio