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Does Stretching Prevent Injuries?

By on April 29, 2015

Tendon injuries are common in sports, and new analysis of past research finds that stretching doesn’t help and might even raise the risk of injury for some folks. Shock absorbing insoles, and hormone replacement therapy for postmenopausal women, on the other hand, did offer protection for some, the researchers found.

“Stretching is often viewed as an empirically accepted method to prevent sports injuries, including tendinopathy,” write the authors, led by Janne A. Peters from the University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands.

“However, there is no scientific evidence that confirms this,” they point out in Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport.

Tendons are thick cords that connect muscles to the bones. When they become irritated or inflamed, that is known as tendinitis.  Tendinosis, on the other hand, is when tiny tears occur in and near the tissue of the tendon. Most experts use “tendinopathy” to describe both inflammation and tears in tendons.

The condition can occur in all parts of the body, often around joints, including the ankle, knee, hip, groin, shoulder and elbow. It can be very painful, the authors note, and the chances of recurrence are high, so it often becomes a chronic condition.

“These are injuries that affect not just elite athletes but also adults who like to exercise, and they tend to be overuse issues,” said Dr. David Geier, an orthopedic surgeon and former director of sports medicine at the Medical University of South Carolina, who was not involved with the study.

For athletes in particular, the consequences of having this type of chronic injury can affect their career, as well as quality of life, he said. Therefore, it is important to try to prevent injuries in the first place.


Content for this article provided by Reuters.com