Health Team

Stretching may not prevent injuries, study says

Posted February 21, 2011

A new study recently presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons shows that stretching before running does not help prevent injuries but that it will not cause injuries either.

The study looked at nearly 3,000 long-distance runners. Half were told to stretch their legs for three to five minutes before their run. The other half had no warm-up.

Researchers found runners were more likely to get hurt if they were overweight, had previous injuries or if they switched their routines.

Running coach Rick Garrigan believes stretching has its benefits, but preventing injuries isn't one of them.

"We've known for a while that static stretching alone doesn't prevent injury in any way,” he said.. “It doesn't have an effect on performance in any positive manner."

But Garrigan recommends that if you do stretch before running, keep doing it. If you don’t, there’s no need to start.

"When you make quick changes to a routine, your body has to react to that, and that could lead to possible problems,” he said.

Some doctors say the best warm-up before running is to start out walking.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Garnerwolf1 Feb 25, 2011

    Why would you stretch a cold muscle? That's just common sense. Why do you think they heat metal before bending it? Same principle.

  • timbo10.0 Feb 25, 2011

    Since I've been stretching before and *after* exercise (including running), my back hasn't gone out once.

    Doctors aren't known for their ability to conduct studies.

  • 27615 Feb 25, 2011

    I agree, JoCo Gun Owner. However, guns are NOT the secret to a long life. They can kill you.

    where did the gun comment come from?

  • whoam1 Feb 23, 2011

    Guns have never killed anyone, it's the person pulling the trigger!

  • scientistjo Feb 23, 2011

    I agree, JoCo Gun Owner. However, guns are NOT the secret to a long life. They can kill you.

  • jkca Feb 23, 2011

    I never stretch before I's afterward that I need the stretches

  • Arapaloosa Feb 22, 2011

    Typical... I gave up on listening to these associations' recommendations a long time ago. Eggs are bad; no, wait a minute, they're good... Saccharin will kill you, well if you consume 100 lbs a day... use aspartame, don't use aspartame; ok use it; wait, um... They haven't got a clue. For all we know, cheeseburgers, beer and cigarettes are the secret to long life...

  • CB123 Feb 22, 2011

    I disagree. If I don't stretch, it takes a long time to get loose. If I do stretch, I am running great from the start. It may not clinically prevent injury, but it helps me before and after a run.

  • I Change This Name Daily Feb 22, 2011

    i think that this is a stretch