Acute changes of hip joint range of motion using selected clinical stretching procedures: A randomized crossover study.

Hip adductor flexibility and strength is an important component of athletic performance and many activities of daily living. Little research has been done on the acute effects of a single session of stretching on hip abduction range of motion (ROM). The aim of this study was to compare 3 clinical stretching procedures against passive static stretching and control on ROM and peak isometric maximal voluntary contraction (MVC).

Using a randomized crossover study design, a total of 40 participants (20 male and 20 female) who had reduced hip adductor muscle length attended a familiarization session and 5 testing sessions on non-consecutive days. Following the warm-up and pre-intervention measures of ROM and MVC, participants were randomly assigned 1 of 3 clinical stretching procedures (modified lunge, multidirectional, and joint mobilization) or a static stretch or control condition. Post-intervention measures of ROM and MVC were taken immediately following completion of the assigned condition.

An ANOVA using a repeated measure design with the change score was conducted. All interventions resulted in small but statistically significant (p < 0.05) increases (1.0°-1.7°) in ROM with no inter-condition differences except one. Multidirectional stretching was greater than control (p = 0.031). This data suggest that a single session of stretching has only a minimal effect on acute changes of hip abduction ROM. Although hip abduction is a frontal plane motion, to effectively increase the extensibility of the structures that limit abduction, integrating multi-planar stretches may be indicated.