Female athletes are more likely than males to experience anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears. Common mechanisms for ACL injury include anterior tibial shears occurring between 20-30 degrees of knee flexion and knee valgus (adduction). Stretching prior to exercise reduces the likelihood of ACL tears. I tested the hypothesis that dynamic stretching would reduce the likelihood of ACL tears as indexed by a greater range of motion (ROM) and greater joint stability (knee valgus) than static stretching. Twenty-seven healthy female soccer athletes in high school (ages 15-18) participated. The athletes completed a sit-and-reach test for flexibility, squats to assess ROM, and countermovement jumps to assess knee valgus. They were split into static and dynamic stretching groups and then played an hour of soccer. The flexibility, ROM, and knee valgus measures were taken again after practice. Flexibility of right leg (RL) and left leg (LL) before and after both stretching conditions increased significantly (p ≤ 0.05). Dynamic stretching improved flexibility more than static stretching. Range of motion of RL and LL before and after both stretching conditions was not significantly different, nor was there a difference in ROM between the two stretching conditions. Knee valgus angle of RL and LL before and after both stretching conditions was not significantly different, nor was there a difference in knee valgus between the two stretching conditions. Since neither the ROM nor the knee valgus were dependent on the type of stretch, athletes should choose their stretching method to improve their performance rather than to reduce risk of ACL injury.
Stefanoff, M. (2016). Dynamic and Static Stretching are Equally Effective Techniques for Female High School Soccer Players. Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio.
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