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Observational Study
, 14 (1), e0210881

Selective Effect of Static Stretching, Concentric Contractions, and a Balance Task on Ankle Force Sense

Observational Study

Selective Effect of Static Stretching, Concentric Contractions, and a Balance Task on Ankle Force Sense

Darjan Smajla et al. PLoS One.


Proper ankle motor control is critical for balance in the human body during functional activities such as standing, walking, and running. Different exercise modalities are often performed during the same training session where earlier activities may influence later ones. The purpose of the current study was to determine the acute effects of different exercise modalities on ankle force sense. Seventeen subjects performed four different intervention protocols (static stretching, balance task, concentric contractions, and control) in random order. Each session comprised measurements before and after the intervention protocol of the force sense of the ankle plantar flexors (PF) and dorsal flexors (DF) at 10% and 30% of maximal voluntary isometric contraction (MVC). Absolute errors (AE) were calculated separately for each force level and muscle group. An overall PF error (PF-SUM = PF at 10%MVC + PF at 30%MVC), DF error (DF-SUM = DF at 10%MVC + DF at 30%MVC) and ankle error (PF-DF-SUM = PF-SUM + DF-SUM) were also calculated. The main effect of time generally revealed that ankle force sense was significantly reduced after static stretching (PF-DF-SUM: Pre: 6.11±2.17 Nm, Post: 8.03±3.28 Nm; p < 0.05), but no significant differences were observed for the concentric contractions (PF-DF-SUM: Pre: 6.01±1.97 Nm, Post: 6.50±2.28 Nm) and the balance task (PF-DF-SUM: Pre: 5.25±1.97 Nm, Post: 5.50±1.26 Nm). The only significant interaction was observed for the PF-DF-SUM (F = 4.48, p = 0.008) due to greater error scores after stretching (+31.4%) compared to the concentric (+8.2%), balance (+4.8%), and control (-3.5%) conditions. Based on these results, static stretching should not be performed before activities that require a high ankle force sense such as balance, coordination, and precision tasks.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


Fig 1
Fig 1. Overview of four experimental sessions.
Four exercise modalities were applied in random order.

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Grant support

This work was supported by Javna Agencija za Raziskovalno Dejavnost RS (SI) (P5-0142 to DS). The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.