Primary objective: To study the effect of calf stretching box usage in increasing the compliance of performing calf stretching exercise as compared to the conventional exercise method.
Secondary objective: To study the effect of calf stretching box usage in decreasing the calf muscle tightness and complications as compared to the conventional exercise method.
Material and method: Eighty patients older than 45 years old with calf muscles tightness were enrolled in a prospective, randomized single-blinded controlled trial at the out-patient Rehabilitation medicine clinic, Siriraj Hospital, Bangkok Thailand between April and August 2009. Patients were randomized into two groups, the study group (stretching by using calf stretching box) and the control group (stretching by the conventional exercise method). Patients in both groups were asked to hold the stretch for at least 1 minute and to perform the stretching program at least two times per day, every day for two weeks. Furthermore, they were asked to record the real frequency and duration of their exercise and complications in a logbook every day.
Results: Thirty-eight patients in each group completed the study. The baseline characteristics of the patients in both groups were similar. The study group had higher frequency and longer duration of performing calf stretching exercise than the control group. They also reported more decrease of calf muscle tightness with less pain complication (shoulder pain, knee pain, low back pain, and calf muscle pain) than the control group (p < 0.05). However, there were no significant differences in the (between before and after) numbers of taut bands, trigger points, and tender points of calf muscle and degree of ankle range of motion between the two groups.
Conclusion: Stretching calf muscle with calf stretching box can increase compliance, decrease calf muscle tightness and decrease complications when compared with the conventional exercise method.