Acute Effects of Gastrocnemius/Soleus Self-Myofascial Release Versus Dynamic Stretching on Closed-Chain Dorsiflexion

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Context: Limited ankle dorsiflexion (DF) range of motion has been correlated with decreased flexibility of the gastrocnemius/soleus complex. Decreased ankle DF range of motion can lead to an increase in lower-extremity injuries, for example, acute ankle sprains, Achilles tendinopathy. Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine whether a single application of the intervention to the gastrocnemius/soleus complex via multidirectional self-myofascial release using a foam roller, multiplanar dynamic stretch performed in downward dog, or a combination of both techniques acutely improved ankle DF. Design: Subjects were assigned to groups via random card selection. Investigators provided verbal cues as needed to yield correct performance of interventions. Both interventions were performed twice for 1 minute using a dynamic walking rest of 30.48 m at a self-selected pace between interventions. Statistical analyses were completed using a 1-way analysis of variance, at α level ≤ .05. Setting: A convenience sample study. Participants: A total of 42 asymptomatic physical therapy students (18 females and 24 males) with mean age of 26.12 (4.03) years volunteered to participate. Interventions: Multidirectional self-myofascial release using a foam roller, multiplanar dynamic stretch performed in downward dog, or a combination of both techniques. Main Outcome Measures: Weight-bearing right ankle DF measurements were recorded in centimeters using a forward lunge technique (intraclass correlation coefficient = .98, .97, and .96). Results: Data analysis revealed no significant difference between the 3 groups in all pre–post measurements (P = .82). Mean (SD) measurements from pretest to posttest for myofascial release, dynamic stretching, and combination interventions were 0.479 (0.7) cm, 0.700 (0.7) cm, and 0.907 (1.4) cm, respectively. Conclusion: Until further studies are conducted, the selection of technique to increase ankle DF range of motion should be based on each individual patient’s ability, preference, and response to treatment.

The authors are with Franklin Pierce University, Goodyear, AZ.

Somers (somersk@franklinpierce.edu) is corresponding author.
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