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Guiding Athletes Through Stretches to Aid Recovery from Strains, Pulls, and Tendonitis



Stretching for rehab is different from general stretching in a number of ways. First, the goal of stretching for rehab is to improve range of motion (ROM) and promote healing, while the goal of general stretching is to improve flexibility and reduce muscle tension.

Second, stretching for rehab is typically more specific and targeted than general stretching. This is because the stretches need to be tailored to the specific injury that the athlete is recovering from. For example, an athlete who is recovering from a hamstring strain will need to perform different stretches than an athlete who is recovering from an ACL tear.

Third, stretching for rehab is often more gradual and progressive than general stretching. This is because the athlete needs to give their body time to heal before they can start pushing themselves too hard.

Here are some specific differences between stretching for rehab and general stretching:

Stretching for rehab:

  • More specific and targeted

  • More gradual and progressive

  • May involve dynamic stretches, static stretches, or a combination of both

  • May involve PNF stretching (proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation)

  • May involve the use of props or assistance from a stretch professional

General Stretches for Athletes:

  • Less specific and targeted

  • Can be done more aggressively

  • Typically involves static stretches held for long periods of time

  • Does not involve PNF stretching

  • Does not typically involve the use of props or assistance

It is important to note that general stretching can still be beneficial for athletes who are recovering from injuries. However, it is important to modify the stretches to avoid further injury. It is also important to consult with a stretch professional to develop a personalized stretching routine. Contact us here for a personalized plan.

Stretching is an important part of injury rehabilitation for athletes. It can help to improve range of motion, reduce muscle soreness, and promote healing. When guiding athletes through stretches, it is important to keep the following in mind:

  • Start slowly and gradually increase the intensity of the stretches while listening to your body.

  • Hold each stretch for 2 seconds.

  • Repeat each stretch 10 times.

  • Always contract the opposing muscle group as it will train the injured muscle to lengthen vs. contracting for purposes of protection.

  • Avoid bouncing or forcing the stretches.

Here are some specific stretches that can be helpful for athletes recovering from strains, pulls, and tendonitis:

Hamstring stretch:

  1. Sit on the ground with your legs extended in front of you.

  2. Reach towards your toes, keeping your back straight.

  3. Hold the stretch for 10-30 seconds.

  4. Repeat 2-3 times.

Quadriceps stretch:

  1. Stand facing a wall with your hands placed on the wall at shoulder height.

  2. Step back with one leg and bend your front knee until it is at a 90-degree angle.

  3. Keep your back heel on the ground and your front thigh parallel to the ground.

  4. Hold the stretch for 10-30 seconds.

  5. Repeat 2-3 times on each side.

Calf stretch:

  1. Stand facing a wall with your hands placed on the wall at shoulder height.

  2. Step back with one leg and keep your back heel on the ground.

  3. Lean towards the wall until you feel a stretch in your calf muscle.

  4. Hold the stretch for 10-30 seconds.

  5. Repeat 2-3 times on each side.

Achilles tendon stretch:

  1. Stand facing a wall with your hands placed on the wall at shoulder height.

  2. Step back with one leg and keep your back heel on the ground.

  3. Bend your front knee until you feel a stretch in your Achilles tendon.

  4. Hold the stretch for 10-30 seconds.

  5. Repeat 2-3 times on each side.

Rotator cuff stretch:

  1. Stand in a doorway with your right arm extended to the side at shoulder height.

  2. Place your left forearm on the doorframe and lean forward until you feel a stretch in the front of your right shoulder.

  3. Hold the stretch for 10-30 seconds.

  4. Repeat 2-3 times on each side.

Iliotibial band (IT band) stretch:

  1. Lie on your back with your right leg extended and your left leg bent at the knee.

  2. Loop a strap around the arch of your left foot and hold the ends of the strap in your right hand.

  3. Gently pull the strap towards your chest until you feel a stretch on the outside of your left thigh.

  4. Hold the stretch for 10-30 seconds.

  5. Repeat 2-3 times on each side.

It is important to note that these are just general stretches. The best stretches for an athlete will depend on the specific injury. It is always best to consult with a professional to develop a personalized stretching routine.

How Stretching Helps Facilitate Recovery and Prevent Re-Injury

Stretching has a number of benefits for athletes recovering from injuries. It can help to:

  • Improve range of motion

  • Reduce muscle soreness

  • Promote healing

  • Improve circulation

  • Reduce muscle tension

  • Improve balance and coordination

These benefits can help athletes to return to their sport more quickly and safely. Stretching can also help to prevent re-injury by keeping muscles flexible and strong.

Keep Moving

Stretching is an important part of injury rehabilitation for athletes. It can help to improve range of motion, reduce muscle soreness, and promote healing. When guiding athletes through stretches, it is important to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity of the stretches over time. It is also important to avoid bouncing or forcing the stretches. The best stretches for an athlete will depend on the specific injury, so it is always best to consult with a qualified healthcare professional.


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