Effects of ipsilateral anterior thigh soft tissue stretching on passive unilateral straight-leg raise

J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1999 Jan;29(1):4-9; discussion 10-2. doi: 10.2519/jospt.1999.29.1.4.


Study design: Randomized 3-group pretest-posttest with blind assessment of outcome.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of sagittal plane hold-relax exercise applied to the ipsilateral anterior thigh, and prone positioning on passive unilateral straight-leg raise measurements.

Background: Straight-leg raising has been viewed as a measurement for hamstring muscle length, but literature suggests that other structures may affect this measurement.

Methods and measures: Sixty subjects (45 men, 15 women) qualified for inclusion into the study based on a straight-leg raise measurement of < or = 65 degrees. Subjects were randomly assigned to one of three groups: control, static stretch, or sagittal plane hold-relax exercise. Pretest and posttest straight-leg raise measurements of the right lower extremity were performed for each subject.

Results: A 1-way ANOVA of the change scores showed a significant difference between groups. A Tukey post hoc analysis of the change scores showed that both treatment groups' means differed significantly from the control group and from each other, with the sagittal plane hold-relax group exhibiting the largest change (mean of 7.8 degrees +/- 2.8 degrees).

Conclusions: The results of this study show that sagittal plane hold-relax exercise and passive prone results of this study show that sagittal plane hold-relax and passive prone positioning can significantly increase straight-leg raise range of motion, however the sagittal plane hold-relax stretching of the anterior thigh is more effective than passive prone positioning.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leg / physiology
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Prone Position
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Thigh / physiology