Athletic-related injuries are a major cause for healthcare visits and financial burden for an otherwise healthy population of adults. The purpose of this article was to investigate the effects of stretching on injury prevention and to determine whether current stretching guidelines are beneficial for athletes. A systematic review of the literature was conducted through searching MEDLINE and CINAHL on topics related to stretching and injury prevention. Current belief is that stretching reduces injury incidence and that it should be performed prior to athletic activities. An examination of 11 articles provided inconclusive outcomes regarding the positive effect of stretching on injury prevention. A sport or activity-specific tailored stretch and warm-up program yielded the best outcomes in relation to preventing injuries. Direct negative effects of stretching were not identified; therefore, the application of stretching should be performed on an individual basis.
Julia Lewis, BSN, ONC, nurse on Orthopedic/ENT unit at Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center. Milwaukee, WI.
The author and planners have disclosed no conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise.