The Effect of Tissue Flossing on Ankle Range of Motion, Jump, and Sprint Performance in Elite Rugby Union Athletes

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Context: Given the relatively novel technique of tissue flossing is currently lacking in the research literature despite some positive findings in preliminary studies, the modality clearly requires further research. Current evidence suggests that band flossing results in performance improvements and may also be an effective method in injury prevention. Objective: Previous research has shown that tissue flossing may result in increased ankle range of motion, jump, and sprinting performance in recreational athletes. The present study aims to extend on this research, within an elite athlete sample. Design: Counterbalanced, cross-over design with experimental and control trials, separated by 1 week. Setting: University laboratory. Participants: Fourteen professional male rugby union athletes (mean [SD]: age 23.9 [2.7] y). Intervention: Application of a floss band to both ankles (FLOSS) for 2 minutes or without flossing of the ankle joints (CON) on 2 separate occasions. Main Outcome Measures: A weight-bearing lunge test, a countermovement jump test, and a 20-m sprint test at pre and at 5 and 30 minutes post application of the floss band or control. Results: There were no statistically significant interactions between treatment (FLOSS/CON) and time for any of the measured variables (P > .05). Effect size analysis revealed small benefits for FLOSS in comparison with CON for countermovement performance 5 minutes post (d = 0.28) and for 10-m (d = −0.45) and 15-m (d = −0.24) sprint time 30 minutes post. Conclusion: Findings from the current study suggest minimal benefits of tissue flossing when applied to the ankle joint in elite athletes for up to 30 minutes following their application.

Mills, Mayo, Tavares, and Driller are with Health, Sport and Human Performance, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Mills is also with Chiefs Rugby Club, Hamilton, New Zealand. Mayo is also with the Bay of Plenty Rugby Union, Mount Maunganui, New Zealand. Driller is also with High Performance Sport New Zealand, Auckland, New Zealand.

Driller (mdriller@waikato.ac.nz) is corresponding author.
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