Fascial or Muscle Stretching? A Narrative Review

Review written by Dr Carlo Wood info

Key Points

  1. A musculotendinous unit lies in series while fascia lies in parallel.
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BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

The mechanism of stretching is not clearly understood. It is hypothesized that some mechanical adaptations occur at the fascia level. While the integrative action of tendon, muscle and fascia are crucial, it is necessary to consider variability in resistance to stretch between these tissues which is due to differences in each tissue’s unique biomechanical properties. It also needs to be remembered that thixotropy can change the viscoelastic properties of the extracellular matrix in tendon, fascia, and muscle.

The purpose of this article was to review the thixotrophic and mechanical differences/similarities between muscle, tendon and fascia when stretch is applied.

It is hypothesized that some mechanical adaptations occur at the fascia level from stretching.
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When considering the stress-strain curves of various tissues, it is likely that fasciae could be considered the limiting factor.

METHODS

This article was not intended to be a comprehensive review. It was written to addresses the biomechanical characteristics of fascial tissue in comparison with muscles and tendons, in order to better understand the mechanisms of static stretching. Various databases were

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