The immediate effect of soleus trigger point pressure release on restricted ankle joint dorsiflexion: A pilot randomised controlled trial

J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2011 Jan;15(1):42-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2010.02.005. Epub 2010 Mar 23.


Objectives: The primary aim of this study was to investigate the immediate effect on restricted active ankle joint dorsiflexion range of motion (ROM), after a single intervention of trigger point (TrP) pressure release on latent soleus myofascial trigger points (MTrPs). The secondary aim was to assess aspects of the methodological design quality, identify limitations and propose areas for improvement in future research.

Design: A pilot randomised control trial.

Participants: Twenty healthy volunteers (5 men and 15 women; mean age 21.7±2.1 years) with a restricted active ankle joint dorsiflexion.

Intervention: Participants underwent a screening process to establish both a restriction in active ankle dorsiflexion and the presence of active and latent MTrPs in the soleus muscle. Participants were then randomly allocated to an intervention group (TrP pressure release) or control group (no therapy).

Results: The results showed a statistically significant (p=0.03) increase of ankle ROM in the intervention compared to the control group.

Conclusion: This study identified an immediate significant improvement in ankle ROM after a single intervention of TrP pressure release on latent soleus MTrPS. These findings are clinically relevant, although the treatment effect on ankle ROM is smaller than a clinical significant ROM (5°). Suggestions for methodological improvements may inform future MTrP research and ultimately benefit clinical practice in this under investigated area.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ankle Joint*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal*
  • Myofascial Pain Syndromes / rehabilitation*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Research Design