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  • Author: Jonathan E. Koontz x
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Marie A. Johanson, Brian J. Cuda, Jonathan E. Koontz, Julia C. Stell and Thomas A. Abelew

Context:

Stretching exercises are commonly prescribed for patients and healthy individuals with limited extensibility of the gastrocnemius muscle.

Objective:

To determine effects of gastrocnemius stretching on ankle dorsiflexion, knee extension, and gastrocnemius muscle activity during gait.

Design:

Randomized-control trial.

Setting:

Biomechanical laboratory.

Participants:

Sixteen volunteers (9 men and 7 women, mean age = 27 y) with less than 5° of passive ankle-dorsiflexion range of motion randomly assigned to an experimental or control group.

Intervention:

The experimental group performed gastrocnemius stretching for 3 wk.

Main Outcome Measures:

Maximum ankle dorsiflexion, maximum knee extension, and EMG amplitude of the gastrocnemius muscles were measured between heel strike and heel-off before and after intervention.

Results:

No significant effect of group or time was found on maximum ankle dorsiflexion, maximum knee extension, or EMG activity of the medial or lateral gastrocnemius muscles between heel strike and heel-off. The experimental group had significantly greater passive ankle-dorsiflexion range of motion bilaterally at posttest than the control group.

Conclusions:

Stretching did not alter joint angles or gastrocnemius muscle activity in the early to midstance phase of gait.