Warm-up and muscular injury prevention. An update.
Musculotendinous injuries are responsible for a significant proportion of injuries incurred by athletes. Many of these injuries are preventable. Importantly, musculotendinous injuries have a high incidence of recurrence. Thus, muscle injury prevention is advocated by coaches and trainers. Yet, most of the recommendations for muscle injury prevention are attempted by athletes and taught by coaches without supporting scientific evidence. This paper reviews the mechanics of muscular injury, associated and predisposing factors, and methods of prevention with a review of the supporting research and rationale for these methods with an emphasis on warm-up, stretching and strengthening. Muscles that are capable of producing a greater force, a faster contraction speed and subjected to a greater stretch are more likely to become injured. Many factors have been associated with muscular injury. From current research, some conclusions and recommendations for muscle injury prevention can be made. Overall and muscular conditioning and nutrition are important. Proper training and balanced strengthening are key factors in prevention of musculotendinous injuries as well. Warm-up and stretching are essential to preventing muscle injuries by increasing the elasticity of muscles and smoothing muscular contractions. Improper or excessive stretching and warming up can, however, predispose to muscle injury. Much research is still needed in this important aspect of sports medicine.
Safran, MR; Seaber, AV; Garrett, WE
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