Original Research

Prolonged static muscle stretch reduces spasticity - But for how long should it be held?

L. A. Hale, V. U. Fritz, M. Goodman
South African Journal of Physiotherapy | Vol 51, No 1 | a647 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajp.v51i1.647 | © 2018 L. A. Hale, V. U. Fritz, M. Goodman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 September 2018 | Published: 28 February 1995

About the author(s)

L. A. Hale,, South Africa
V. U. Fritz,, South Africa
M. Goodman,, South Africa

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The rehabilitation of patients with upper motor neurone lesions often necessitates the reduction of spasticity before normal movement patterns can be taught. One proven technique is that of prolonged stretch to the affected muscle. However, the duration of the stretch has not been defined.
This study aimed to investigate which of the following durations of prolonged muscle stretch - two, ten or thirty minutes - was optimal in reducing spasticity in spastic quadriceps femoris muscles of adult patients following cerebral vascular accidents or head trauma.
The degree of spasticity was measured by the use of four methods, prior to, and after stretching. Twenty-nine spastic muscles were stretched for the three durations on different occasions, and the data analysed using the student's T-test.
Results indicated that the most beneficial duration of prolonged muscle stretch in decreasing spasticity was ten minutes.


muscle tone; assessment; Cybex II isokinetic dynamometer


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