Plantar fascial release and lumbar/ hamstring flexibility
Self-myofascial release (SMR) techniques have become highly popularized within the fitness and rehabilitation communities as a holistic means to both prevent and treat pathology.
Literature has continued to provide insight into the connectivity and continuity of fascial systems that course through the body and affect often distant and unrelated body parts. A schematic understanding of this complex system has been presented as “Anatomy trains” and suggests that dysfunction or tension at a point along a pathway can have detrimental effects elsewhere in the body.
Considering these things, the authors of the current study set out to quantify for the first time a change in hamstring and lumbar spine flexibility following a single bout of SMR to the plantar fascia. Following intervention there was shown to be a significant increase in the flexibility of the hamstring and lumbar spine.
The anatomy train suspected as being the most involved for hamstring and lumbar spine is known as the superficial back line which terminates in the plantar fascia and short toe flexors.
24 asymptomatic health volunteers were recruited and randomly allocated to either an intervention (SMR) or control group. SMR was instructed according to a script and was carried out for two minutes on either foot. A sit and reach test (SRT) was performed both pre and post intervention. Control group participants were instructed to sit for four minutes then repeat the SRT.
Previous to this study no literature had existed regarding myofascial release to the plantar aspect of the foot having a proximal effect along the superficial back line. Despite its limitations, this study clearly demonstrated a statistically significant difference in SRT between the intervention and control group with a large treatment effect size in the intervention group. Taken together, this study takes a step toward verifying our emerging understanding of the connectivity of the myofascial system while also giving us a clinically relevant technique for creating immediate change to the lumbar and hamstring flexibility.
> From: Grieve et al., J Bodyw Mov Ther (2016) 544-552. All rights reserved to Elsevier Ltd. Click here for the Pubmed summary.