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Man Ther. 2011 Apr;16(2):161-6. doi: 10.1016/j.math.2010.10.001. Epub 2010 Nov 2.

The effect of soft tissue mobilisation techniques on flexibility and passive resistance in the hamstring muscle-tendon unit: a pilot investigation.

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  • 1Nursing and Physiotherapy, School of Health and Population Sciences, College of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK.


The growing evidence suggests that physiological mobilisation techniques influence the passive properties of the muscle-tendon unit (MTU). Techniques that combine a transverse directed force to the physiological technique attempt greater influence on biomechanical properties. No research has investigated the biomechanical effects of a technique with addition of a transverse directed force. This pilot study aimed to explore preliminary data of effectiveness of two techniques on longitudinal load (extensibility and passive resistance) in the hamstring MTU. A counterbalanced quasi-experimental same subject design using fifteen healthy subjects compared two conditions: physiological technique and a technique with addition of a transverse directed force. Passive resistance (torque, Nm) and extensibility (knee extension range of movement) of the hamstring MTU were recorded during and following both conditions. Paired t tests explored within and across condition comparisons, with Bonferroni adjustment to account for multiple analyses. Passive resistance demonstrated a significant reduction for the technique with addition of a transverse directed force (t = 4.26, p < 0.05) that may have contributed to the significant increase in extensibility (t = 8.48, p < 0.05). The data suggest that longitudinal load through the hamstring MTU during a physiological mobilisation can be increased by the application of a transverse directed force. This merits further research.

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