Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2014) 13, 564 - 570

Research article
The Acute Effects of Unilateral Ankle Plantar Flexors Static- Stretching on Postural Sway and Gastrocnemius Muscle Activity During Single-Leg Balance Tasks
Bráulio N. Lima1, Paulo R.G. Lucareli2, Willy A. Gomes1, Josinaldo J. Silva1, Andre S. Bley2, Erin H. Hartigan3, Paulo H. Marchetti1,4, 
Author Information
1 Department of Human Movement Sciences, Methodist University of Piracicaba, Piracicaba, São Paulo, Brazil
2 Department of Rehabilitation Science, Human Motion Analysis Laboratory, Universidade Nove de Julho, São Paulo, Brazil
3 Department of Physical Therapy, University of New England, Portland, Maine, USA
4 Faculty of Physical Education (YMCA), Sorocaba, São Paulo, Brazil

Paulo H. Marchetti
✉ Methodist University of Piracicaba (UNIMEP), School of Health Sciences, Human Movement Sciences Graduate Program. Rodovia do Açúcar Km 156, Bloco 7, Sala 39, Taquaral. 13423-070 - Piracicaba, SP - Brazil
Publish Date
Received: 24-02-2014
Accepted: 25-04-2014
Published (online): 01-09-2014
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The aim of this study was to investigate the acute effects of unilateral ankle plantar flexors static- stretching on surface electromyography (sEMG) and the center of pressure (COP) during a single-leg balance task in both lower limbs. Fourteen young healthy, non-athletic individuals performed unipodal quiet standing for 30s before and after (stretched limb: immediately post-stretch, 10 and 20 minutes and non-stretched limb: immediately post-stretch) a unilateral ankle plantar flexor static- stretching protocol [6 sets of 45s/15s, 70-90% point of discomfort (POD)]. Postural sway was described using the COP area, COP speed (antero-posterior and medio-lateral directions) and COP frequency (antero-posterior and medio-lateral directions). Surface EMG (EMG integral [IEMG] and Median frequency[FM]) was used to describe the muscular activity of gastrocnemius lateralis. Ankle dorsiflexion passive range of motion increased in the stretched limb before and after the static-stretching protocol (mean ± SD: 15.0° ± 6.0 and 21.5° ± 7.0 [p < 0.001]). COP area and IEMG increased in the stretch limb between pre-stretching and immediately post-stretching (p = 0.015 and p = 0.036, respectively). In conclusion, our static- stretching protocol effectively increased passive ankle ROM. The increased ROM appears to increase postural sway and muscle activity; however these finding were only a temporary or transient effect.

Key words: Balance, postural stability, stabilometry, motor control

           Key Points
  • The postural control can be affected by static- stretching protocol.
  • The lateral gastrocnemius muscle action was increased after the static- stretching protocol.
  • The static- stretching effects remain for less than 10 minutes.
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