Stretching Before A Run Does Not Prevent Injury
It is a well known past time that stretching before any particular sport is good practice and less likely to cause injury. Recent studies have shown that this might not in fact be the case especially for the sport of competition or recreational running. I am sure that you will agree it sounds strange that you would simply leave your house and start pounding the pavement without out at least a heel to buttock stretch. The evaluation of 2,729 runners proved exactly that.
It seems that stretching before a run or not stretching before a run is irrelevant to personal injury of the runner; more so it is the change in routine that is the likely cause of problems incurred by runners. Any athlete will tell you that there routine will consist of a light warm up then a stretching routine before they attempt there designated distance or speed run. When the athlete does not do this routine they are at high risk of incurring an injury.
The research carried out by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons suggests that if the athlete had never used a stretching routine as part of their running regime then they would be at no more risk than a runner that regularly used a stretching regime. In fact if that runner suddenly started to add stretching to the beginning of their work out they would be at higher risk of injury. The same would apply for a runner that suddenly stopped stretching.
Whether stretching before a work out improves performance is a completely different issue and one that requires a separate study, the issue under scrutiny in this article is the fact that stretching before a run does not prevent injury.
Out of the 2,729 runners that were randomized into two groups some of them where regular stretchers and others never stretched before a run. It had no consequence which group they were in the common injuries that are incurred by runners such as knee, ankle and ligaments where limited to people that suddenly changed their routine and to runners that fell into the category of being older or over weight.
The conclusion of this study is simple if you wish to improve your flexibility and perhaps running performance and do not normally stretch. You should be aware that sudden changes in your routine could make you prone to injury especially if you are older or have a high body mass index. Little changes over longer periods of time are better.