DOI: 10.1155/2023/5582277 ISSN: 2573-8488

Acute Effects of Stretching Exercises on Posterior Chain: Analysis of Shear Modulus by Elastography SSI

Maria Clara Albuquerque Brandão, Gabriela de Carvalho Teixeira, Liliam Fernandes de Oliveira
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

The posterior chain muscles of the lower limb include the hamstrings and triceps surae, along with the Achilles tendon. This study aimed to investigate the acute effects of static stretching exercises commonly used in clinical and training settings on the shear modulus (µ) of these muscles and tendon using Supersonic Shear-Wave Imaging (SSI) elastography. Fifteen healthy adults participated in the study, performing stretching exercises for hamstrings and triceps surae. Shear modulus and joint range of motion (ROM) were measured before and after the stretching protocols. The hip and ankle mean ROM significantly increased by 19.27% and 24.10%, respectively. However, the stretching protocol did not significantly alter in µ of the hamstrings, the gastrocnemius muscles, and the Achilles tendon. K-means clustering analysis identified a group where the subjects with lower initial ROM showed higher amplitude gains and a significant decrease in the semimembranosus stiffness after stretching. These findings suggest that the stretching protocol was effective in improving joint mobility but not sufficient to elicit immediate mechanical changes in muscle and tendon stiffness. Neural adaptations and nonmuscular structures might contribute to increased ROM. The study highlights the importance of considering individual initial ROM and subsequent responses when evaluating the effects of stretching exercises on muscle and tendon properties.

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