Comparison of the Graston Technique® With Instrument-Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization for Increasing Dorsiflexion Range of Motion

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Context: Limited dorsiflexion (DF) range of motion (ROM) is commonly observed in both the athletic and general populations and is a predisposing factor for lower extremity injury. Graston Technique® (GT) is a form of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization (IASTM), used commonly to increase ROM. Evidence of the long-term effects of GT on ROM is lacking, particularly comparing the full GT protocol versus IASTM alone. Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of 6 sessions of the GT or IASTM compared with a control (CON) group for increasing closed-chain DF ROM. Design: Cohort design with randomization. Setting: Athletic training clinic. Patients or OtherParticipants: A total of 23 physically active participants (37 limbs) with <34° of DF. Participants’ limbs were randomly allocated to the GT, IASTM, or CON group. Intervention: Participants’ closed-chain DF ROM (standing and kneeling) were assessed at baseline and 24–48 hours following their sixth treatment. Participants in the CON group were measured at baseline and 3 weeks later. The intervention groups received 6 treatments during a 3-week period, whereas the CON group received no treatment. The GT group received a warm-up, instrument application, stretching, and strengthening of the triceps surae. The IASTM group received a warm-up and instrument application. Main Outcome Measures: Closed-chain DF was assessed with a digital inclinometer in standing and kneeling. Results: A significant difference between groups was found in the standing position (P = .03) but not in kneeling (P = .15). Post hoc testing showed significant improvements in DF in standing following the GT compared with the control (P = .02). Conclusions: The GT significantly increases ankle DF following 6 treatments in participants with DF ROM deficits; however, no differences were found between GT and IASTM. The GT may be an effective intervention for clinicians to consider when treating patients with DF deficits.

The authors are with Illinois State University, Normal, IL, USA.

Stanek (jmstane@ilstu.edu) is corresponding author.
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