THURSDAY, Feb. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Runners who stretched before running were no less likely to get injured than runners who didn't bother to stretch, new research finds.
To investigate the effect of stretching on running injuries, researchers divided more than 2,000 runners into two groups. One group stretched the quadriceps, hamstrings and calf muscles for three to five minutes before starting their run; the other group didn't stretch. About 1,400 of the runners completed the study and were included in the final results.
"Over a period of three months, it did not make any difference if you stretched or didn't stretch before a run," said lead study author Dr. Daniel Pereles, director of sports medicine at Montgomery Orthopaedics in Kensington, Md., and an assistant clinical professor at George Washington University.
The study was to be presented Feb. 18 at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons' annual meeting in San Diego.
The runners who completed the study were at least 13 years old and ran 10 or more miles a week.
The overall injury rate was relatively high, with about 16 percent having an injury painful enough to cause them to miss a week or more of running, Pereles said.
People with a higher body mass index (BMI) and those who had recent or chronic injuries were more likely to get injured, as were older runners and people who ran more miles a week. Injuries to the feet and ankles were most commonly reported, followed by knee injuries.
And in a finding Pereles said he's not sure how to interpret, people who switched their normal routine -- that is, people who normally stretched but stopped stretching for the study, and people who didn't normally stretch but started for the study -- were more likely to get injured.
Non-stretchers who started stretching had a 22 percent increased chance of injury compared to non-stretchers wh
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