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Does stretching before exercise help reduce muscle pain and injury after exercising?
MedHead Confidence Score: 2
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Stretching before exercise likely doesn’t prevent bone and joint injuries, but may prevent tendon and ligament injuries (sprains, strains, etc.). It may very well depend on the type of exercise being performed as well (think soccer or basketball vs. running/swimming). It turns out that the benefit is quite small, but seems to be persistent among meta-analyses. I’m pretty sure this won’t quell the controversy surrounding stretching before exercise, but hopefully you can see that this is definitely a nuanced question that is not easily answered. This also speaks to the occasional insanity of science trying to answer every scientific question with any reliability. That’s not to say we throw everything out–we just add nuance and perspective.
1. Jamtvedt G, Herbert RD, Flottorp S, et alA pragmatic randomised trial of stretching before and after physical activity to prevent injury and sorenessBritish Journal of Sports Medicine 2010;44:1002-1009.
2. Herbert RD, de Noronha M, Kamper SJ. Stretching to prevent or reduce muscle soreness after exercise. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2011, Issue 7. Art. No.: CD004577. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004577.pub3. Accessed 20 June 2022.